Not all of the excitement at Sundance this year took place on the film festival’s movie screens. Acura, a seven-year Sundance sponsor, returned to the Festival Village with an activation that leveraged VR and brain wave technology to engage fans in a personalized NSX supercar experience. The 90-second engagement, dubbed Mood Roads, created a one-of-a-kind experience for each attendee based on emotional, cognitive and physical cues and reinforced the brand’s position as an innovator.
Participants entered a spherical motion simulator equipped with a performance driver’s seat and 30 biometric sensors that measured 24 integration points, such as their brainwaves, heartbeat and facial expressions. Once buckled in, they experienced a customized journey in real time as landscape, color, music and speed all changed based on their mood as interpreted by the sensors. As a result, no two driving experiences were exactly the same.
As opposed to the traditional setup, users looked directly at a high-definition immersive, almost 360-degree “Mood Roads” screen without the cumbersome goggles required in other activations. Instead, they wore headsets that measured their biometric inputs.
Mood Roads also offered an opportunity to connect the brand with the festival’s spirited, independent-minded attendees and reinforce Acura as a trailblazer. “The audience at Sundance is open to the new and different experience,” says Jessica Fini, manager, new media strategy and activation at Acura. “Virtual reality and new technology is very accepted here. We have a strong presence at Sundance with MDXs that run around Park City all week, so this was a good place to launch this activation.”
Months of planning went into the Mood Roads experience. Acura built an actual mock-up during the R&D phase to ensure that everything, the biometrics, the color and sound changes, and the visual effects created by graphics pioneer Gmunk, the genius behind the visual effects for “TRON: Legacy,” all worked according to plan.
Besides Mood Roads, traditional marketing elements took place in Acura’s Festival Village, including a product experience tent, post-screening dinners, coffee hours and just the chance to relax and recharge. Another highlight: a full-sized ice sculpture of an Acura MSX strung through with LED lights that changed color depending on how the power was distributed between the wheels and the engine. RFID bracelets tracked attendees’ activities as they went through the tent. Attendees could opt in for additional information on the cars and participate in post-event surveys. Agencies: George P. Johnson, New York City; Mullen, Los Angeles; Spinifex Group, Los Angeles.