Feature Blog – 4D Projection Mapping for Bentley

Projection mapping isn’t all about huge displays onto the facades of buildings…

Projection mapping can be used in an engaging and memorable setting. Creative production agency Drive made a real impact in the auto industry with 4D projection-mapping making for a ‘radically different’ car launch experience in Bentley showrooms across Britain.

Drive took to the road showcasing the new Bentley Continental GT.

The tour kicked off in Scotland on Burn’s Night at the packed Bentley Hamilton showroom in Glasgow on the 24th January. Drive then took the event on a nationwide of 18 Bentley dealerships located in key cities throughout England and Wales.  A release event was held at the end of the tour in Belfast, February 18th 2011.

As specialists in 4D projection-mapping, Drive was brought in to assist the Bentley dealership marketing by existing suppliers, Pro-Ex, to support and invigorate the campaign with an innovative take on the traditional dealership car launch. Heralded as “a car launch like no other” and described by the press as “an awesome light-show that drew gasps from its audience”, the experience saw an integration of a high-end light and laser show with 3D imagery and digital sound effects that combined to create a four-dimensional sensory experience.

Drive creative director, Imogen Hammond explains why the project has been so successful:

“Drive make the Bentley Continental GT come alive in a way that you can only really do when you’re behind the wheel and out on the open road. In the confines of the showroom, we used 4D projection-mapping technology to create the illusion of the movement, motion, grace and beauty associated with this kind of high-end engineering, while capturing the glamour and refinement intrinsic to the Bentley brand.”

The tour has made a powerful impact. Invites were sent out to a select group of over 15,000 across the UK dealership network and have resulted in audiences – per night on a 3-week long back-to-back schedule – of up to 400. That’s around 7 thousand members of the automotive elite; dealers, owners, privileged guests and potential purchasers.

Bentley Dealer Marketing Manager (UK), Peter Grant, comments:

“Bentley was cutting-edge in 1956 with the launch of the original Continental GT and we’re still cutting-edge in 2011. We needed a radically different car launch, one that was less about direct sales and more about engagement with the brand – and that’s exactly what Drive Productions delivered. Outstanding.”

The beauty of this use of projection mapping is that someone has thought about the product-audience connection first and then pulled off the technologically advanced display to get the true brand influencers to do more than ‘like’ the product – but to imagine themselves inside it. This wasn’t about showing off to 100,000 ambivalent nods of approval from Youtube fans. This was far more important to the brand, and it wasn’t easy to do.

Drive’s director Ben Fender told me: “This was a technological challenge in many ways, not least because typically 4D digital mapping set up can take most of the day to get right, and we just didn’t have that luxury on this tightly scheduled tour.”

“We learned on the job and we were soon able to get the set up time down to a fraction of the time required. Every dealership was different and created a unique set of challenges. We often had to work without much space and without getting in the way of the daily business at the dealerships.”

“Car dealerships are, by the nature of the business, light and bright during the day, not ideal circumstances for 4D mapping.  The set up was by day, for events that were held at night. We created a black box to cover the car and our equipment so that we could set up in strong light conditions.”

“It was also a collaborative event at each dealership. They arranged much of their own entertainment, such as pipers during the Burns night launch event. We had to plan out our access and projection lines with great care.”

“Of course, it was crucial for Bentley that the car was shown off to absolute best at every point of its introduction to the elite audience. I’m pleased to say that we managed to do that at every location.”

And here, happily free of gimmickry, is a Bentley that became even more desirable by being brought to life by Drive.

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