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Radical Maneuver - Exclusive Interview

There is a hot little viral video flying around the web and we have the exclusive story behind it. This viral video really captures the sense of freedom you feel while cruising along in an open-top convertible. We never knew that the MINI Cabrio could be driven while floating upside-down above the roof, but now that we've seen the video, we feel like maybe we should try it.

MINI Space caught up with Jason Schragger, Creative Director of "Radical Maneuver" to get his take on the car, the brand, and what it takes to make a video go viral.

Q: Most viral videos look like they were shot from a home video camera. Yours integrated motion graphs and real video. Tell us about the look and feel you were going for here.

A: A large percentage of the most watched videos on YouTube are music videos. And they normally look great. I think the downbeat look is a bit done. Virals are and should be serious business. Just because you don't really pay for the media doesn't mean you shouldn't really pay for the production. Most of the best virals might look cheap but were produced for a King's Ransom.

What we really wanted to do was something that was authentic in a film sense. So we used an old-school camera technique and then added some new school graphic elements. We shot the car in a giant wheel, and spun everything around for two days. The actors had so much fun doing this, and so did we. And I think whenever that happens it tends to translate onto the screen.

Once we got back to Berlin, we had the basis of what you see. But then we created a world that spins around too. We wanted it to look slightly surreal and to give you a good feeling. You don't have to think too much, or get a joke, this is really something that should entertain and make you smile.

Q: You are offering your viewers not only the viral video, but also a short "Making of..." documentary (see video below). Is it important that the two videos be watched together to get an idea for what you're doing? What would you like viewers to take away from these two videos?

A: No you don't need to see both. But I think one leads to another. If you watch the making of, I would hope you are intrigued to see how it ended up looking and if you watch the ad you will not believe how it was made.
It's always nice to let people into camera tricks. I think they appreciate seeing behind the scenes when there is something new or interesting to see.

Q: What makes the MINI Cabrio worthy of starring in your video?

A:  For me MINI is all about action. And that is a perception change that MINI as a brand has started to deliver upon. When you start talking to the MINI drivers you realise that maybe they went in to the showroom because they liked the look of the MINI but they drove out of the showroom with their new MINI because they had stuff to do. People talk about their MINI zipping through traffic, not looking good outside a cafe.

Q: What is your opinion on how a video goes viral? It's "virability," if you will. What does it take to make one of those videos that viewers will want to watch again and again, and then send around to their friends as well?

A: There are some simple formulaic ways of getting things viral. Sex, violence and scare tactics. However, a lot of the best virals now are more simply, new innovative ideas that people are interested in.  For too long we hid behind our virals. We acted like we didn't shoot the viral. Made it look like some kid did it. It seemed like the only way to make people watch. But I think the way people get to know virals is changing. You no longer email a video, you stumble onto it on blogs and lists of videos you should watch.

It is a carefully planned media attack. Who to speak to, when to release it, which blogs to approach. Do you interfere or not. Do you moderate the comments or not. A good seeding strategy is like a good media plan. And when you get it right you can really help getting your message across.

Q: How do you think sites like YouTube and Twitter have helped people get out their message and maximize their creativity? And what kinds of amazing things do you think these social networking and viral sites could do in the near future?

A: I love the possibilities open to us by Twitter and YouTube. People have the choice now whether to watch you or not and it makes our job more fun. Because if you don't entertain, you don't get picked. And Twitter is a way where people can feel like they are having a one on one relationship with your brand. We are now open to so many things the question is what shouldn't you do.

However, one thing I want to mention is that when you talk to people, tell them what you want them to do. This might sound a bit weird but it is the biggest mistake people make online at the moment. We try to be so underground and so covert that people might see it, they might like it but they have no idea what to do next.

We are almost embarrassed about advertising. We need to call a spade a spade and an ad an ad. We can still dress it up, make it funny, make it amazing but if it does not convert lookers into shoppers and focuses too much on entertaining for no reason I think it is a waste of time.

Q: Are you planning on working on other videos for MINI in the future? What's next?

A: I really hope so. But if I told you I would ruin the surprise.

Jason has traveled and worked around the world working for clients like Snoop Dogg, Johnnie Walker, and IKEA.  His viral videos have caught attention people around the world and from media outlets like Germany's popular The Bild and American blog celebrity Perez Hilton.

Originally from Zimbabwe his projects have taken him through Australia, Singapore, Japan, Amsterdam, and today he calls Berlin home.

Related Link:

The Bild

Perez Hilton

Snoop Dogg

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