Isle of Dogs animator Tobias Fouracre creates stop motion thieves for VanMoof campaign

The campaign opted for animation to discuss biking security without being “too severe and techy”.

26 January 2022


EBike brand VanMoof has teamed with Oscar-nominated animator Tobias Fouracre, known for his work on Isle of Dogs, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Corpse Bride, for a new campaign and advert, Hard Times for Super Thieves. Featuring three stop motion plasticine characters, or “super thieves”, trying to steal a miniature 3D printed VanMoof, the campaign attempts to talk about anti-theft technology “in a more lighthearted way”.

The stop motion ad was filmed in a mockumentary-style set-up. Each character was created to confront a separate element of VanMoof’s security tech; a veteran lock-picker, made to look like “a cross between Terry Thomas and Salvador Dali”, struggles with the brand’s keyless locking system. “We’ve found that when we want to talk about the innovations involved in protecting riders’ bikes, it can quite quickly stray into being too severe and techy,” VanMoof creative director Colin Cornwell explains. For VanMoof, stop motion felt like an “unpretentious” way to bring that playfulness to life.

As for the process the short film was shot in the quick turnaround of five days, of which the most challenging aspect was the stop motion lip sync, says Tobias. Working without a set of replacement mouths, the animator was sculpting as he went along, “so it was a bit like being on the front line”, he states. While the 14 inch puppets were made of plasticine, the VanMoof bike they were trying to steal was 3D printed, hand-sprayed and included hand-made spokes; “Because the bike’s such an important part of this commercial and it’s the product, it should look like the real thing,” explains Tobias.

Tobias was initially drawn to the project for its interview format, as a change of pace from typical action-driven stop motion projects. “Personally, I’ve always found those intimate moments when characters talk much more interesting and challenging,” he explains. After struggling to cut the final ad down to a minute worth of footage, Tobias states: “A film’s never finished. At one point, someone has to say, ‘Stop, you can’t do any more.’ But you could keep tinkering forever.” Super Thieves launched today (26 January) to advertise VanMoof’s Peace of Mind Theft coverage.

GalleryTobias Fouracre and VanMoof: Hard Times for Super Thieves (Copyright © VanMoof, 2022)

Tobias Fouracre and VanMoof: Hard Times for Super Thieves (Copyright © VanMoof, 2022)

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Tobias Fouracre and VanMoof: Hard Times for Super Thieves (Copyright © VanMoof, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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