Net#work BBDO and Sinister Studio’s are applying technology to advertising in ways that have never been seen before. The result of their technological evolution is an ‘experience’ that fully engages the senses and appeals to people’s hearts.
Net#work BBDO and visual effects and animation agency, Sinister Studios, has delivered on a brief for Mercedes-Benz South Africa, above and beyond the client’s wildest expectations. The brief was to launch the new range of Mercedes-Benz Roadsters and Cabriolets by bringing to life the sense of child-like wonder embodied in the range, and appealing to the emotions of the brand’s fan base, both young and old.
Net#work BBDO ECD, Brad Reilly, says that Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) has set the benchmark for innovative ways of pulling fans and customers closer to the brand, and the creative challenge was to top everything that had gone before.
“We decided to use virtual reality to expand on Mercedes-Benz’s #LookUp campaign. But we wanted to push the boundaries, we wanted to push past the limits of what virtual reality has been used to do in the past – that’s why we partnered with Sinister Studios.”
Four test-drive videos were developed, with the first one showcasing the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé and the second the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Both of these utilised technology to profile the cars’ features in ways not previously possible.
“The tricky part of filming cars,” says Sinister Studios’, Christian van der Walt, “is that there are lighting and depth of field issues to reconcile. When filming, the interior of a vehicle is generally darker than the environment it’s being driven in and this needs to be compensated for. So what we did was use a ‘pod’ of cameras to shoot a 360-degree view of the outside world, and then we completely created the cars’ interiors with computer graphics. This allowed us to seamlessly integrate the two aspects.
“The third video saw the Mercedes-AMG C 63 being tested at high speed at the Kyalami race-track. Again, computer graphics and 360-degree film combined to create a fantastical experience. We later superimposed Lewis Hamilton, pilot of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 car, into the test drive, another first. The success of this approach is entirely due to the technology we used.”
But the fourth video – featuring the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet – pulled all the elements together in an overlay of characters, fantasy and animation that we’ve never seen done before.
“This digital world is truly experiential and allows viewers to ‘feel’ as if they are the protagonist of the journey. Our video incorporates the fantasy of children’s imagination as they have an unrestricted ability to look up and wonder, and takes the virtual experience to the next level.”
As a teaser, a short video featuring three children and a dog in the back of a cabriolet was captured. The children were asked how they felt driving in the vehicle and what they saw when they were asked to #LookUp, and their responses were amazing… “animals without feet” and “it feels like I’m on a bubble that’s flying away”. Their thoughts and words were used in the virtual reality to physically portray what they saw and express how they felt.
“This type of Virtual Reality campaign has not been produced by any other automotive company, and has the potential to build love for the Mercedes-Benz brand by appealing to the emotions of our fan base,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director, Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
“Users are able to view the content as a 360-degree video on their PCs, smartphones and tablets, or they can familiarise themselves with the full virtual reality experience on devices such as the Samsung Gear VR or even the Google cardboard, using their own mobile devices.”
“We believe that Virtual Reality could offer fans and customers the convenience of having an incredible experience that could come as close as possible to driving and enjoying the thrill of a new product, while in the convenience of their homes with their personal devices,” says Govender.
“Most VR experiences let consumers immerse themselves in a fantasy world, but adding a story telling layer above and beyond the technology is critical. That’s what makes the experience sticky. We’re not just pushing product or technology; we’re giving people an experience built around a human story,” he says. “And if this is the future of advertising, I’m all for it.”
See the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet #LookUp video here:
See the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé 360-degree video here:
See the Mercedes-Benz E-Class 360-degree video here:
See a link to the App here: