When a diamond heist goes awry, there's only one car to turn to for the getaway: the 2015 Mini Cooper hardtop.
At least that's how it plays in Mini's virtual fantasy world.
Mini's small car has been cast in two virtual reality enhanced narratives that the automaker commissioned and shared in November on The New York Times' freshly launched VR app. The short film Backwater is centered on a heist, while Real Memories focuses on a man coping with apparent amnesia.
The films, initially released by Mini in September on YouTube, receive a visual boost when viewed on the app through the hand-held Google Cardboard device, which turns a smartphone into a cheap set of virtual reality goggles. (When viewing without Google Cardboard, users can rotate their phones or tablets to get a 360-degree effect. Computer viewers can click on their screens to explore the environment.)
As part of the campaign, Mini planned to distribute 140,000 free cardboard viewers worldwide that are based on the new version of Google's set that came out this summer.
"It's the first time we've told any stories in virtual reality," said Tom Noble, Mini USA's marketing chief.