Korean automaker Kia Motors has unleashed an augmented reality activation at the North American International Auto Show, which began in Detroit on Tuesday, that ties into its popular “Party Rock Anthem” commercial. The technology, which is the centerpiece of the brand’s new exhibit for this year’s auto show circuit, is called “Close Encounters” and features the brand’s now-infamous dancing hamster spokes-rodents, known as the Hamstars.
Attendees are invited to climb up on a 20-foot-wide stage to control the Hamstars on a 22-foot by 35-foot screen. The animated characters dance in response to the attendee’s movements thanks to motion sensing system. Each Hamstar can dance with an attendee for up to 30 seconds, but as soon as one Hamstar exits, another one joins the party if the attendee wants to keep dancing. Some attendees are staying on stage for upwards of an hour, Kia says. All three dancing Hamstars from the “Party Rock Anthem” commercials make appearances. The experience was designed for one person to use at a time, but ten to 20 dancers and dozens of onlookers often occupy the floor. The brand captures the videos from the experience and emails them to the participants, and the brand says more than 50 percent of them have opted in to join the mailing list.
Other activations at the show include an eco-driving video game where passengers can toss obstacles in front of the driver while she tries to be as efficient as possible, and a gestural interface that allows attendees to virtually operate the assembly robot at Kia’s brand new Georgia plant.
“Our old exhibit didn’t communicate our brand’s new direction,” Michael Sprague, vp-marketing and communications at Kia, told Buzz. “You can’t just bring people to a booth and expect them to want to hang out there. They want to be entertained. This new booth is about conveying that we’re fun, youthful in spirit and technology-savvy.” Agency: EWI Worldwide, Detroit.