Toyota recently promoted the new RAV4 in South Africa with the RAV4 Outdoor Website, an interactive outdoor experience on a 1.8 km cycling track in Bryanston Cycle Park. The site was built for outdoor adventurers, the guys who spend their weekends hiking and cycling, and not behind their computer screens surfing the net. The real-life RAV4 website not only looked like the online version, but behaved like it too. Cyclists could trade in their mouse for a mountain bike, and navigate the RAV4 Outdoor Website. See more on the online version, rav4outdoor.co.za.
The first experience of a website was the loading status. Online loading is a matter of time, whereas, on the outdoor track, it’s a matter of distance. So, for the first 50 metres or so, you got a 60%, 80%, 90% and finally a 100% countdown before the site came to life.
There were also several menu bars erected at various stages on the track. These were overhead wooden panels with the URL of the website inscribed on it. Each menu bar featured all the sections of the track – ‘Models’, ‘Design’, ‘Safety’, ‘Interior’ and ‘Book a Test Drive’. However, depending on which section of the track the cyclist was on, only one word was highlighted: ‘Models’ on the first section, ‘Design’ on another, much like the roll-over state change in an actual online website. This interaction was triggered by an infrared sensor that the cyclist broke as he or she went past.
As the cyclist passed under the menu bar, he or she was presented with two interactive buttons, each reflecting an option from the specific section with an instruction to ‘hit’ the desired choice. For example, after passing the ‘Models’ menu bar, the cyclist got to choose between ‘4-wheel drive’ or ‘2-wheel drive’. When the button was hit, it caused another button further down the track to change state, giving the cyclist a bit more information about the selection (again, much like in an online website).
Continuing down the track, the cyclist (riding past several signs that rotate) neared what Hellocomputer calls ‘an activation’. An activation concluded each section, and was dependent on the topic the cyclist chose to explore. From pulley systems, to massive pinwheels and trees padded with blow-up airbags, the cyclist learnt about the assets of the new RAV4 in an entertaining and innovative way.
In one example, after cycling under the URL bar highlighting safety, the cyclist could choose between Vehicle Stability Control, or seven quality airbags. When selecting the Vehicle Stability Control button, the cyclist crossed a particularly treacherous section of track making use of a stable wooden bridge, which lit up like a landing strip. The inference was that the new Toyota RAV4 gives you all the safety and control for a ‘smoother ride’.
The final menu bar told cyclists to book their test drives and stand a chance to win a prize. Triggered by some very special technology, a ‘tree stump’ automatically printed out a slip of paper that became your test drive booking slip, and competition entry.
Just when cyclists thought the world’s first-ever outdoor site was complete, they rode over what appeared to be a refresh button. Not only did this button ‘refresh’ the entire track, making it ready for the next cyclist, but it also sprayed out some cool water too, literally, refreshing them.
Cyclists were able to share their web site experience on social media platforms as they rode along the track. Within each section was a wooden Twitter bird that the cyclist could smack when cruising past, sending an instant Tweet to both their Twitter handle, and Toyota with more information about that particular section. Hellocomputer calls it a RAV4 Twitter brochure. Each one was unique and customised for the cyclists.
The RAV4 Outdoor Website campaign was developed at Hellocomputer & Draftfcb Johannesburg by chief creative officer Brett Morris, executive creative director Kerry Friend, art directors Matthys Esterhuysen, Adrian Teixeira-Porrescas and Jade Amic, copywriters Camilla Clerke and Jesse Coetsee, producers Michelle Geere and Justine Grimmer.
Technology was designed and built at Thingking by designers Johan Pieterse and Nathan O’ Gates.
Filming and editing was done at Hellocomputer and Black Envelope.