Most living, breathing adults would agree that a remote-controlled car in their grip would quickly transport them back to their youth. Imagine maneuvering a vehicle that hugs the earth, gracefully shifting and turning toward the contours of the roadway—perhaps simulating your dream driving experience.
This childlike pleasure is precisely what Audi Canada brought to life in Toronto. A hands-on experience placed kiosk visitors behind the wheel of custom-fabricated 1:32 scale all-wheel-drive slot cars powered by the world’s first iPad-specific miniature car controller. And, what better way to draw attention to the vehicle’s “Quattro” quality than by giving people a chance to actually drive miniature A4 models?
Audi Canada tapped Zulu Alpha Kilo to create an interactive installation—driving home the vehicles’ unique adaptability and positioning the brand among luxury competitors.
With the intent to reestablish the Audi brand among other luxury competitors, Audi Canada looked to design firm Zulu Alpha Kilo to steer the project and create a one-of-a-kind interactive installation. The “Audi Quattro Experience,” strategically situated in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, meant visibility from the biggest business centers.
“The very best digital products being created now are those that integrate both the digital and physical,” says John Kilpatrick, HOW Interactive Design Awards judge and CEO of Cabin (a mobile app funded by Samsung Accelerator). The Quattro Experience does just that. As part of a comprehensive, yearlong “Land of Quattro” campaign, this interactive spectacle took mock drivers on a whirlwind of tight turns, long straightaways and diverse terrain—highlighting the A4’s adaptable and nimble qualities on Canada’s varying landscapes.
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Zulu Alpha Kilo went the extra mile to craft a fully integrated sensory experience for each participant. Live video streamed from each miniature A4 car to the participants’ iPad controllers—and they managed the car’s acceleration right from the app controls. Drivers could even take away a digital souvenir by sharing their videos via Facebook or Twitter, while online audiences watched live video, tracked racers and learned about the features of the new A4. Closed-circuit video screens in the central plaza also showcased live racing footage along with branded content loops promoting the campaign microsite.
That’s not to say there weren’t any bumps in the road, especially considering the project’s complexity. “Merging the old world of slot cars with the modern world of tablets, servers and streaming video, and doing so in a seamless fashion, was probably our biggest challenge,” says creative director Shane Ogilvie.
Copywriter Jon Webber adds, “To make all of the track sensors (camera and timing), vehicle controllers, live video feeds and social sharing options align, several custom software and hardware solutions were built and integrated from scratch.” It’s precisely this “wow” factor—created by the synergy of the well-designed pieces and parts—that made the HOW judges fall for the Audi Quattro Experience.
This feat, which ran a mere six months from conception to launch, moved test-drivers as well as the bottom line. The two-week interactive event culminated in 800,000 impressions, and 3,932 participants took the wheel of the drive-by-iPad installation. “Most importantly, the Audi Quattro Experience helped propel Audi to a 30% increase in sales from September to December in 2012,” Ogilvie says.
The project is especially noteworthy because Zulu Alpha Kilo took a nostalgic memory and recreated it with interactive technology and social media integration—all while maintaining an emotional appeal. Zak Mroueh, the firm’s chief creative officer and founder, says the project inspired “a lot of double takes, childlike smiles and long stares. Lines were common throughout the day, as walk-by traffic was lured in by the size and uniqueness of the spectacle.”
Title Audi Quattro Experience
Design firm Zulu Alpha Kilo, Toronto
Client Audi Canada
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