Mitsubishi Live Drive: A Turn Behind the Wheel
Last week I drove a car in California while sitting in Richmond, Virginia - approximately 2,237 miles away.
Jumping out from the advertising clutter of “yet another car commercial,” Mitsubishi worked with agency 180 to put together a 10-day remote “Live Drive” event, offering eager participants the chance to sit in the driver's seat of a 2011 Outlander Sport - without ever actually sitting in the driver's seat. USA Today reported that about 40,000 people signed up, and 5,000 were chosen to remotely drive the specially outfitted Outlander over a closed course. Multiple cameras on both the car and the course gave drivers and online spectators a choice of live perspectives as the robotically accessorized vehicle performed at the whim of each driver for around 90 seconds. (And yes, there were safeguards in place for the more curious drivers - the vehicle was electronically blocked from being driven out of the course perimeter, and closely monitored during each drive).
To help promote some of the car’s features, a series of white symbols were part of the driving course. Drivers were challenged to “collect” as many symbols as possible by by driving over them, unlocking information about each special feature.
The endeavor did have a few technical difficulties – the day I drove they started behind schedule due to maintenance/upgrades. And unfortunately when my turn behind the wheel arrived the live driver-view cam froze up, so I could only navigate the course via a small interactive graphic map. Navigating that way wasn’t nearly as responsive as the live-view cameras seemed to be for others’ exploits, so I’m sure the tech crew wondered what the heck I was doing in a repetitive series of forward-and-reverse moves while trying to drive over one of the course features several times. (It probably looked like I was practicing my parallel parking.)
The "Live Drive" portion of the promotion’s efforts included everything from TV spots to a Twitter account, and links on the website that let you post to Twitter/Facebook that you’d be behind the wheel soon so your friends could watch.
Though “The World’s First Online Test Drive” may be over (it ran Nov 1 – 10, 2010), other elements of the campaign will run through January, confirmed Advertising Age. And though sales of the Outlander were markedly down in 2009, Mitsubishi announced that year-to-date sales through October for the model were UP 19.8%.
It will be interesting to see how the year finishes out for the model, especially given the interactive nature and timing of this campaign.
If you missed it, see the website for more info. And there are also several YouTube videos - from fellow test-drivers who filmed their exploits (I'd have shown you mine, but the frozen feed made for some pretty boring video) to more official “making of” footage from the car manufacturer. And one big Gorilla THANK YOU to everyone who took a turn behind the wheel:
(Shaun Amanda Herrmann)