October 18, 2012
General Motors’ Cadillac is pushing the new ATS model through augmented reality installations in top U.S. marketers by transforming street murals into driving experiences on smartphones and tablets.
The automaker’s “ATS vs. The World” campaign is culminating this weekend in Chicago with the last of a series of augmented reality experiences during which consumers can drive the ATS model on murals by artist Tracy Lee Stum via mobile devices. Rather than relying on application downloads, Cadillac is bringing this mobile experience directly to consumers through out of home installations.
“We sought to increase social involvement by bringing the ATS alive for people out in the world,” said Don Butler, vice president of marketing at Cadillac, Detroit. “This is a participatory idea that gets users enthralled and engaged with the campaign and car alike.
“We built in as many social elements as possible to get people photographing and sharing their ATS encounter,” he said. “To date, our augmented reality experience has been activated over 30,000 times.”
Car on the street
Each mural presented at one of Cadillac’s city-specific events will represent an international location where the ATS was tested. Cities include New York, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco.
The theme of the ATS vs. The World program is testing the vehicle on the most challenging roads in the world. The campaign debuted during the 2012 London Olympics.
The augmented reality experience began Sept. 21 in Miami. The two-day street installation shows the ATS on the Monaco Grand Prix speedway.
Consumers could download an app, aim their smartphone or tablet at the mural and move the device to test-drive the ATS. The brand also provided tablets equipped with the app at the installation.
There were brand ambassadors on site with tablets that people could use, but anyone with a smart phone could download the app and utilize the augmented reality feature.
ATS augmented reality demonstration
Next, the automaker brought the experience to New York Sept. 28-29 where China's G tunnel was shown on the street mural.
A scene from Morocco was shown in San Francisco Oct. 10-11.
In Chicago, Patagonia will be depicted in the street art.
Cadillac's creative agency Fallon partnered with General Motors media agency Carat to produce the events.
Artist Tracy Lee Stum and media firm Grandesign created the murals. Augmented reality platform company Daqri added the image recognition technology.
“The ATS is Cadillac’s bold entry into the most significant segment of the global luxury automotive industry,” said Denis Budniewski, general manager at Fallon, Minneapolis. “It was developed to take on the world’s best sport sedans, so we designed a campaign equally as dramatic.
“This is the largest pairing of street art and augmented reality technology ever,” he said.
Back to reality
Other luxury automakers are using the augmented reality experience on mobile to showcase models in a technologically-advanced setting.
For instance, British sports car manufacturer McLaren Automotive is flaunting its P1 concept aero car through an augmented reality mobile app for the iPhone and Android devices.
The app requires users to print a sketch of the model from the automaker’s Facebook page so that they can view the P1 model in front of them (see story).
In addition, German automaker Audi launched a mobile app last year for the Le Mans 24 hour race that integrated the brand with what is arguably the toughest sports car race in the world.
In fact, the automaker used augmented reality in the same way as the McLaren P1 app to allow consumers to test-drive multiple Audis that have won previous Le Mans races, such as the R8, R10 TDI, R15 TDI and R18 TDI (see story).
Cadillac is not relying on app downloads for its augmented reality experience, but is taking it right to consumers in top markets through out of home installations.
“We could easily have stopped with touring the car, and we could have been fine with the chalk murals around it, but the augmented reality brings an added level of involvement,” Cadillac’s Mr. Butler said. “It was important to get the idea out to people in heavily trafficked areas in cities that are key markets.”
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York