Isle of Dogs animator confounds super thieves in stop-motion ad for a Dutch e-bike firm

Dutch e-bike company VanMoof has created theft-defying tech that’s so secure even super thieves cannot get around. That’s the premise behind this new advert featuring charming stop-motion animations from Tobias Fouracre, the creative behind Isle of Dogs, Fantastic Mr Fox and Corpse Bride.

Cyclists will be all too familiar with the perils of owning a bike. One minute they’ve left their precious bicycles safely chained up, the next they’ve discovered a wheel or two has been stolen, or the whole thing is gone altogether. Enter VanMoof, whose theft-defying e-bikes are so secure that even dastardly supervillains would be unable to snatch them.

To promote this novel approach to advertising bike security and its Peace of Mind coverage, VanMoof teamed up with Oscar-nominated animator and director Tobias Fouracre to produce a short spot called Hard Times For Super Thieves, which shows wicked hackers and lock pickers struggling to prize an e-bike from its off-screen owner.

Taking the form of mockumentary-style studio interviews, we learn how this trio of would-be thieves leaves empty-handed.

Eschewing commonplace computer animation for handmade models, the advert stands out both in terms of its concept and its execution. While the VanMoof e-bike is an immaculate 3D-printed creation, Tobias’ villains are finely-detailed stop motion puppets.

These include a Master Lockpicker who is defeated by the bike’s keyless locking system, and an International Art Thief who cannot outsmart the bike’s anti-tracking system, and a Cyber Security “Specialist” who struggles to crack its lock code.

“Real deterrents are needed to keep your VanMoof safe,” says VanMoof creative director Colin Cornwell. “Bringing these features to life in a vivid way was the film’s goal. We couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turned out. We love the characters, and we love the stop-motion approach. It makes for a truly unique and playful way to talk about a tricky subject.”

By perfectly balancing humour and its e-bikes selling points, this advert is a triumph. And while the unlucky team of supervillains walk away from their failure with an exasperated cry of “who really wants to steal” a VanMoof bike anyway, customers will leave not only reassured and well-informed but with a smile on their face too.

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