The Paint on This Cancer-Fighting Car Is Made of (Wait for It) Glowing Scorpion Skin!

A sting we weren't expecting

Weird, the stuff you can come up with when put to the test.

Italian car brand Abarth draws its latest inspiration from the scorpion, which is small, agile and powerful—much the way it imagines its sportscars to be.

Thus inspired, a team of Publicis One agencies—Leo Burnett, MSL and Starcom—wondered how they could incorporate scorpions into car design, lifting the mascot out of its passive existence on the logo and bringing it to vivid life.

We give you the results—a one-off model called the "Scorpion Skin Edition."

Fun facts: Did you know scorpions shed their skin 16 times in their lives, and can glow in the dark? 

"Scorpion Exoskeletons glow in ultraviolet light," Jonathan Van Loon, art director at Publicis One, tells Muse. "The blue-green glow [of the car] comes from a substance found in their skin. Because of the ability for scorpions to release their skins to grow, we could collect them and use it—of course without harming any scorpions in the process." 

What a relief.

According to Van Loon, the trio of agencies worked with Dutch biologist Walter Getreuer to better understand scorpion biology and collect their exoskeletons. Then they got together with Dutch contemporary artist Pablo Lücker, who designed the car with illustrative inspiration from Abarth's history. 

The stripes across its body, for example, pull from Abarth's racing heritage.

"We worked together with a German paint maker to develop the paint," Van Loon continues. "They used the proteins in the exoskeletons to convert UV light into light of a blue hue, which is visible to the human eye. This all came together on this one-of-a-kind Abarth." 

A project this insane is kind of a dream. It was only natural to ask how the client felt.

"The client really loved the idea!" Van Loon exclaims. "They immediately saw this could be something really unique, just like the car itself. It fit the brand perfectly, and the fact that it was an homage toward the founder of Abarth [made it] a purposeful campaign. It would be an eye-catcher that would get enough attention for us to tell our story."

Speaking for Abarth, comms manager Robbert van den Heuvel adds: "We are dedicating the special Scorpion Skin Edition to company founder, Carlo Abarth. … With this car, we will bring the origin of Abarth to life in a completely new way. From every nut and bolt to every one of Pablo's brushstrokes, this car shows just what Abarth stands for." 

Founder Carlo Abarth—born under the sign of the Scorpio, natch—died of stomach cancer at age 70 in 1979. 

The Scorpion Skin Edition will be auctioned off next week, with profits going to the Dutch Cancer Society. While the video invites viewers to place bids, we strongly suggest not holding your breath.

Per Van Loon, "There are signs that someone from the Royal Family could be the one that will take the special edition home."

CREDITS
Client: Abarth / Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)
Campaign: Scorpion Skin Edition
Agency: Publicis One, Amsterdam (Leo Burnett, MSL, Starcom)
Creative Directors: Mischa Schreuder, Ramon Stalenhoef
Copywriter: Daniel Ashkol
Art Director: Jonathan van Loon
Designer/photographer: Dave Fransen
Producer: Joost Steinhoff
Director: Jonathan Bleeker, Bart Breugem
Production: newbreed.amsterdam
Edit: Jonathan Bleeker, Bart Breugem
D.O.P.: Jonathan Weyland
Sound Design: Bertus Pelser at Amp.Amsterdam
Post production: Lamine Ndiaye, Tim Smit
Account Director: Vanessa Snoeij, Alice Brevoord

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is a founding contributor to Muse. She is also the co-founder of esports agency Hurrah.gg, and co-author of Generation Creation.