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Land Rover spurs fans to race the sun via interactive gaming film

October 16, 2013


Land Rover North America is bolstering its Range Rover Sport "Drive to Another Level" campaign with an interactive, high-intensity film that lets viewers join the adventure with gaming options.

The "Race The Sun" film is equipped with WebSocket technology that allows viewers to sync up their smart phones and tilt, tap and swipe their touch screens to keep up with the ride. To maximize the reach of the film, viewers can participate in the film with their tablet and desktop as well.

"The primary purpose of Race The Sun is to support the recent launch of the all-new 2014 Range Rover Sport and the 'Driven to Another Level' campaign," Kim Kyaw, digital marketing and social media manager, Land Rover North America, Mahwah, New Jersey.

"Race The Sun highlights key elements of the Range Rover Sport's DNA, its unparalleled on- and off-road capabilities,  as well as those of its target consumer, individuals who are driven to go beyond the limits in their everyday lives," she said.

"Race The Sun aims to put the consumer in the 'driver's seat' virtually."

Race The Sun was developed by Y&R NYC and Wunderman NY, and directed by Danté Ariola. The project also showcases the work of Stink Digital.

Your move

Land Rover released teaser videos of Race The Sun leading up to the release of the game. In the video, a freestyle mountain climber receives a phone call from a man who says, "It's your move. You have until sundown to make it."

RACE THE SUN video still

The lack of background information generates a tantalizing amount of mystery. Viewers watch as the driver roars across various landscapes in his Range Rover Sport while the sun sets.

Video still

The interactive Race The SUN digital experience brings viewers along for the shadowed journey and can be accessed at

Fans can sync up their smartphones to using the WebSocket technology, or elect to enter the film via tablet or desktop.

Video still

Once connected, players are able to match the maneuvers of the Range Rover Sport either by tilting, tapping, swiping, or using computer keys. If a phone is selected, players follow the video in real-time on their mobile screen.

The first challenge of the film involves matching the Range Rover Sport's swiftly shifting positions on an off-road terrain. If using a desktop, players must press the q,w,a and s keys.

Next, players have to match the sharp turns on a steep mountain road. Finally, players have to dodge tires that flood the road from an enemy truck.

Video still

The suspense established by the teaser video is ratcheted up by the frantic game commands.

As the sun's crown hovers above the horizon, the driver sprints from the vehicle and enters the house of the man who had delivered the challenge. The driver races to a chair facing a chess board and tells the man, "Put the bishop in play."

Another driver in a different location is then given the command to race the sun before it rises.

At the end of the game players are given a percentage score and a rank according to how well she or he performed on the off-road, performance and handling components. Players are also given the options to share via social media, customize their journey or replay.

To spread awareness of the game, Land Rover is taking over major homepages including ESPN, The New York Times and YouTube.

Check mate

Land Rover has used digital tactics to give consumers a realistic sense of how a car feels in the past.

For instance, Land Rover North America promoted its next-generation Range Rover model features and driving capabilities through an interactive mobile app.

The “Range Rover: The Trail Less Traveled” app gives consumers the chance to virtually experience riding in the vehicle in a variety of different settings and viewpoints. Land Rover is likely aiming for aspirational owners rather than its customers with this app since it mainly shows off what the model can do (see story).

As the brand continues to enhance its digital offers, fans will likely come to associate digital innovations with the automaker.

"Digital is an increasingly important part of Land Rover's marketing strategy," Ms. Kyaw said.

"Our target customer is especially tech savvy and so we want to communicate to them in ways that resonate with them and through platforms such as mobile and tablet where they spend a lot of their time," she said.

"The light game and vehicle interactions allow the consumer to participate in the experience and be entertained while learning about the all-new Range Rover Sport."

Final take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York