Car brands often talk about the quality of their manufacturing in their marketing. But when juxtaposed against typical running shots of sleek automobiles on scenic highways, the essence of the message gets lost. For its 200 model, though, Chrysler has gone all-in on bringing the production process to the fore—with a virtual reality experience that puts consumers deep inside its factory.
Building off the brand’s Chrysler 200 Factory Tour—an interactive experience that used Google map technology to allow consumers to explore the 5 million square ft. Sterling Heights Assembly Plant—Chrysler has now launched "Beneath the Surface", a four-minute, 4-D immersive experience using the Oculus Rift DK2 as part of it’s exhibit at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The experience, created by Wieden+Kennedy Portland and development partners Stopp and MPC Creative, immerses viewers completely inside the production process, placing their view right inside the vehicle as it’s being constructed, bringing to life the claim that "you haven't researched a car unless you've seen the factory that builds it." At first, a viewer is placed in the seat of the vehicle. Soon, the car busts apart, enhanced by a seat rumble pack and spatial sound effects, and they’re quickly transported into the inner guts of a car in the making. Stops along the factory floor include the body shop, the paint shop and the metrology center.
"This project started with an interactive experience that lets viewers explore inside the factory where the Chrysler 200 is built. Collectively we started exploring with Chrysler on how we could give people an even more impressive tour," said Aaron Allen, creative director, W+K Portland. "Rarely does anyone get a glimpse into how a car is made and we found the process fascinating, so we worked with the company to help create a way for people to experience it in the most realistic way possible. Virtual reality allowed us to give people a completely immersive 4D look into the process."
The point seems to be to illustrate in a more meaningful way how Chrysler’s dedication to superior production processes translates into a better-to-drive vehicle. The experience also demonstrates how still-nascent virtual reality technology is showing off its strength as a placed-based experiential asset for marketers to tell their brand story in a compelling way.
"Just as we use state-of-the-art technology in the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, we're experimenting with technology that pushes the boundaries of virtual reality to find new ways to bring auto experiences to our consumers," says Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer, Chrysler Group LLC. "We believe showing where and how the car is made will make a lasting impression and continue to highlight Chrysler's commitment to quality."