Fantastic Beasts? You’ll Find Plenty of Them in This Wild British Ad for Mitsubishi

A hybrid impresses its own kind

It's not often that Medusa shows up in advertising, much less accompanied by a chest-thumping minotaur, a metallic mermaid, an arrow-shooting centaur and a galloping Pegasus. So, this new U.K. spot for Mitsubishi is a real mythological blowout—all in service of a hot-selling SUV called the Outlander PHEV.

It may look like the brand's longtime ad agency, Golley Slater, has taken a page from American Horror Story or a Guillermo del Toro flick for the gorgeously shot 60-second ad.

Its director, British filmmaker Bugsy Riverbank-Steel of Moxie Pictures, called the script "audacious" and seemed a little surprised, according to a statement, "to have been encouraged to make something that on paper might look a little barmy!" (Barmy = crazy in Brit-speak.)

The goal, according to the agency, was to cement Mitsubishi's place as the leader in the category—tagline: "Where some follow, others lead"—though using a bunch of hybrid creatures to sell a plug-in hybrid car would've made perfect sense anyway.

There's no denying the beauty of the ad, with its burned-out forest setting, haunting soundtrack and exotic characters. It's part of a larger campaign that includes print, digital and social media, with the powerful ancient beasts gathering around and giving props to the car.

Since the vehicle's intro in 2014, it's sold more than 26,500 units, says Golley Slater, making it the fastest-selling car in the U.K. for three years in a row and the top-selling hybrid in the highly competitive segment.

"It's rare these days for a client to go out on a limb and run with an ambitious idea," Riverbank-Steel says, "but on this occasion both the client and agency were brave enough to push it right to the limit."

Ad trivia: Snickers famously used Medusa a few years ago as a spokesthing for its ongoing "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign on the back cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.