ESSENCE and Toyota Build an Afrofuturistic Playground

ESSENCE and Toyota Build an Afrofuturistic Playground
ESSENCE and Toyota Engage Drivers in an Afrofuturistic Multisensory Playground

ESSENCE and Toyota Engage Drivers in an Afrofuturistic Multisensory Playground

ESSENCE magazine and partner Toyota capitalized on the Instagram museum trend in December with #SensoryWonderland, a multisensory playground that celebrated Afrofuturism while generating buzz for the new 2018 Toyota Camry. The event amplified Toyota’s Sensations marketing campaign, which “aims to tap into drivers’ emotions and the sensations they feel behind the wheel,” says Jovanca Maitland, director-live events and experiential at ESSENCE.

The event on Dec. 9 at The Villain in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY, offered six experiential and share-worthy spaces that represented the different campaign buzzwords and were designed to stimulate the different senses: Lust, Hunger, Throb, Boom, Pulse and Drool. Afrofuturistic imagery weaved throughout the event, including creative from the magazine as well as performing talent that aligned with the concept.


Lightwave technology created personalized biometric data portraits.

“We targeted eclectic, millennial consumers who embody Afrofuturism—the culmination of black culture, technology, liberation and pure imagination—in some aspect of their daily lives, from personal style and music taste to careers and creative interests,” Maitland says.

Three sessions took place throughout the day, each open to the public. Among the multisensory experiences: The Drool room, which offered a 360-degree, VR journey from inside the new Camry. During the consumer’s experience, Lightwave technology analyzed real-time emotion data to create unique, personalized biometric data portraits (see photo). Another environment, Lust, was encased in velvet drapery. Consumers felt around with their hands to “escape” rather than rely on sight. The Pulse room contained a representation of the inside of a car engine with sounds and an engine revving at full speed that could be heard by pressing an ear up against the installation. In each room, a museum-style placard explained the experience and invited consumers to explore.

Live music was incorporated into the event, too, including Suzi Analogue and Lion Babe with dj sets throughout the day, on top of Sharaya J, Young Paris and Ari Lennox who performed on stage.

“For multicultural consumers, it’s important for brands to not only ‘talk-the-talk’ but also ‘walk-the-walk’—meaning, to create experiences for brands to show they value, in this case, African-American audiences,” Maitland says. Agency: The Visionary Group, Los Angeles; Burrell Communications, Chicago.


Take a Tour of ESSENCE and Toyota’s #SensoryWonderland:

Photo courtesy: Mel D. Cole


See also:

Acura Uses Biometrics for its ‘Mood Roads’ Activation at Sundance
Biometrics: How Infiniti Measured Emotions at Pebble Beach

Rachel Boucher
Posted by Rachel Boucher

Rachel joined Event Marketer in 2012 and today serves as the magazine's executive editor. Her travels covering the experiential marketing in dustry have ranged from CES in Las Vegas to Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida (it's never too late)—and everywhere in between.
View all articles by Rachel Boucher →

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