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Turning the automotive launch on its head with a pioneering interactive reveal that accelerated consideration through participation

Ford of Europe

All–Electric Ford Explorer Reveal

Delivering a high fidelity and easily accessible reveal moment that seamlessly turned into an interactive Virtual Test Drive: driveelectricexplorer.com

Offer
Content
Studio
London
Launched
March 2023
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155.8k

Launch video live streams (YouTube and LinkedIn)

57.5m

Total video views across the wider campaign

4 min

Average user engagement on VTD

365,300

Total number of VTD streams (as of 13th December 2023)

THE CHALLENGE

How can you test drive a car that doesn’t exist yet?

We were tasked with revealing Ford’s latest EV to a consumer audience across Europe and driving reservations ahead of its launch in dealerships.

We knew that the most effective method of driving reservations or sales is physically getting behind the wheel of a new car.*

So in a world where that wasn’t possible… we needed to find a completely new approach.

*87 % of consumers say they want to test drive a vehicle before purchasing (McKinsey, 2022)

THE IDEA

Create deep product engagement with an online audience

Using cutting-edge technology in the form of Unreal Engine, we built a virtual All-Electric Ford Explorer that took centre stage in a stunning reveal film, streamed live across YouTube and LinkedIn, landing a powerful brand-quality message. At the point of reveal, audiences were invited to experience the car in a whole new way, entering into an online driving experience that increased product consideration, having a powerful effect on driving reservations.

Innovation in storytelling

Technology on its own cannot deliver a true emotional connection. Working with the campaign platform ‘Exploring Reinvented’, we told the true story of Aloha Wanderwell, the first female explorer to travel around the world in a Ford Model T.

100 years later, the reveal film featured Lexie Alford, a modern-day female explorer, announcing her challenge to reimagine Aloha’s journey in Ford’s All-Electric Explorer. We didn’t just launch a new vehicle, we told a story with resonance and meaning for our female-focused target audience.

From passive to participative

Once Lexie had helped reveal the new Explorer, audiences were invited to play the part of director in their own interactive experience. Picking a beautiful test-drive landscape, deciding the car’s colour, and selecting their favourite soundtrack before choosing from drone, POV and cinematic cameras to explore the product and its features in their Virtual Test Drive.

Innovation in technology

We utilised the latest version of Unreal Engine, the RealTime 3D graphics platform that powers the world’s biggest AAA games, to create both the reveal film CGI elements and the world's largest automotive pixel-streamed experience. Delivered to any device through a web browser, this is an experience normally reserved for high-end gaming PCs and game consoles.

We took advantage of Unreal Engine’s unrivalled capabilities by authoring one set of assets which were used across the full experience. This resulted in consistency across the virtual production, green screen shoots, CGI for the reveal film, as well as the interactive Virtual Test Drive. By doing so we created not only coherence but also efficiencies across the full campaign.

Increasing reach through social amplification

Awareness of the reveal experience was driven through a media plan that ran across both paid and organic social; Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We created assets that were curated for each audience; longer forms for automotive media and shorter social cut-downs to reach a wider pool of Ford’s potential customer base.


The reveal of the new electric Explorer™ SUV was a milestone moment in our journey to an all-electric future in Europe, featuring cutting-edge Hollywood-style CGI and a pixel-streamed Virtual Test Drive. It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for us to create meaningful connections with potential customers.


Peter Zillig

Marketing Director, Ford in Europe

Value for the audience

Engaging with a relatable, emotive story that only Ford could tell. Providing a unique experience that enabled audiences to actively participate and experience a product in a way they never have before.

Value for the brand

Building a deeper relationship with audiences through engagement with the brand, with an average 4 minutes interaction time for the Virtual Test Drive, with many spending longer watching the 7 minute reveal film too. Driving consideration with visitors being 3 times more likely to convert to a reservation if they got behind the wheel with the Virtual Test Drive. Raising the profile and recognition of Ford as a front-runner in electrification and technology.

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