Student named finalist in Mini Cooper competition

Sarah King
Staff Writer

One big idea by a VCU arts student made her a finalist in a Mini Cooper design competition.

Alexandra Coyle, a sophomore creative design major, is one of ten finalists to have her car design to become a limited edition model.

“One day on Facebook, Mini Cooper made a post saying to check out the video competition and I was like ‘I could totally win this,’” Coyle said. “I started making a script and then I set up something in my garage and filmed something and turned it in 10 minutes before it was due. Within a week I got a finalist email.”

Coyle was one of 800 contestants vying for the prize. From that pool, Mini Cooper selected 30 contestants for a Skype interview. Those 30 were narrowed down to nine, plus a fan favorite.

“The idea for the test drive video was ‘how would you test drive the new mini coming out in the spring?’ So I said to take the LED headlights and turn them into blacklights and cover them in glow in the dark paint so wherever you drive the whole road lights up,” Coyle said.

Finalists worked with a professional designer and engineers on the features of the new car to design a Mini originals package. Coyle took part in an open vote for the design portion of the competition. The vote was open for a week and allowed the public one vote per day. Coyle said the process did not go without some added drama, however.

“I was way in the lead, and then this other entry was getting an obscene amount of votes and I was like ‘Oh my god, they’re using an autobot’ so I emailed the producer,” Coyle said. “I found out in class that there was a thread going on on Reddit trolling the other contestant. Somebody wrote a site that would clear cookies each time.”

Coyle said that aside from the craziness of the voting process, she has had an enormous amount of support throughout the competition. She said on Facebook there is even a group called the “League of Extraordinary Miniacs” comprised of Mini Cooper enthusiasts, and one contestant vouched for her design.

“People are really awesome,” Coyle said. “It’s also exciting because the company is a big ad agency and now I’m on the other side of it and I’m getting calls from stylists and things like that.”

The winning design will be announced at the New York International Auto show in April.

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