VanMoof collaborates with illustrator Jim Stoten to animate a campaign celebrating the positive impact of cycling

The Dutch e-bike company has commissioned the UK-based illustrator to create a one-minute spot, emphasising the positive advantages of cycling.

1 March 2021


VanMoof – a Dutch e-bike brand founded in 2009 by two brothers Taco and Ties Carlier – has collaborated with illustrator Jim Stoten to celebrate the positive impact of cycling. In the form of a one-minute long animated campaign, the illustrator takes the audience on a trip through a cycling utopia, following a frog protagonist riding around on a VanMoof S3 (one of its popular bikes) as it watches the city transform.

The campaign follows a controversial TV spot from VanMoof titled Time to ride the future, banned in France by the Autorité de Régulation Profressionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP) due to it inducing “a climate of anxiety”. Rethink the city. Reimagine the future, on the other hand, displays how bikes can positively change our cities and metropoles across the world. “Instead of focusing on the negative effects of cars and clogged streets, we’re emphasising the positive advantages of cycling,” says VanMoof creative director, Pascal Duval, in the company’s press release.

Jim Stoten is a UK-based creative who’s known for his psychedelic illustrative style. He’s a fitting choice for the campaign, and approached the brief with a dreamlike vision of the daily commute, all of which is communicated through the positive impact of cycling. “I find it really exciting to see something which catches your eye and doesn’t seem to mean anything,” he says in the release. “Then you can’t help but start putting meaning to it.” As such, the frog protagonist works its way through the smog-filled roads, traffic jams and busy streets, before everything around him starts to quickly change. With every pedal push, the streets start to clear, cycling lanes pop up on the roads and flowers begin to bloom. At the end of the film, the frog is navigating through a greener city, joined by a community of other cyclists.

"To make a real difference, we need to celebrate the benefits of cycling,” Pascal continues in the announcement. “At the end of the day, cycling does good, and it makes you feel good. I wanted to bring that energy to life in this film.”

VanMoof is known for its e-bike design – including the VanMoof S3 – with a host of e-bikes ridden worldwide by a community of over 120,000 risers. Its stores can be found in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seattle, Taipei and Tokyo. In 2020, VanMoof saw its sales of e-bikes triple. Therefore, this campaign is a nod to the current boom in e-bikes across the world. In the first few weeks of the lockdown, says the company, signs of environmental recovery were reported. “Last year could be the first big step in the mobility revolution the planet is craving,” says Ties Carleir, VanMoof CEO and co-founder. Consequently, Rethink the city. Reimagine the future is a playful reminder of this progress and encourages its viewers to make more conscious decisions going forward.

Rethink the city. Reimagine the future is part of VanMoof’s first campaign of 2021, running globally until the end of March this year, available across YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

GalleryVanMoof and Jim Stoten: Rethink the city. Reimagine the future (Copyright © VanMoof and Jim Stoten, 2021)

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VanMoof and Jim Stoten: Rethink the city. Reimagine the future (Copyright © VanMoof and Jim Stoten, 2021)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima. 

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