UFOs Launch Terrestrial Vehicle
Scenario: One of the world's largest automotive manufacturers sought to unveil a new version of an iconic model, while leveraging notoriety via an annual enthusiast event that celebrates the original model. The location of the yearly convention: Roswell, New Mexico.
Strategic Communications Solution: In the summer of 1947, one of the most storied of all UFO legends has it, a pair of otherworldly crafts crashed amid an electrical storm in the desert outside of Roswell. Extraterrestrial beings and portions of their crafts were said to have been recovered. To capitalize on this lore, we created a nighttime stunt, using fictionalized news reports of curious lights in the sky and an airborne police chase for a skywatch event that we sponsored, outside town. Searchlights and a stunt helicopter added suspense and anticipation for onlookers. A fireworks explosion next gave way to a police air and land chase of a craft with multi-colored lights, all moving quickly toward the crowd. The desert chase culminated, amid smoke and much activity, in the reveal of the true identity of the extraterrestrial craft —and the world debut of a new version of the original model for which brand enthusiasts had traveled from far and wide to celebrate. Emerging from the craft was not a small, green creature with large eyes, but rather, a Hollywood actor renowned for his work with a classic version of the vehicle who would serve as Grand Marshal for the next day's parade of cars.
Results: Event-goers, typically accustomed to simple evening star gazing, were absolutely thrilled with the UFO spectacle, surprise tinsel town star visit and the opportunity to be among the first to see and experience the brand's latest offering. Highlights include the OEM's first official participation in the enthusiast event, attendees (all incredibly passionate about the brand) expressed tremendous appreciation for the automaker's show of enthusiasm and support, spread the word, grass-roots style (particularly online) to fellow brand lovers nationwide. High-profile media, such as Speed Channel, brought the event to millions more. All of the weekend activities underscored the brand's DNA — including superior engineering, affordability and fun.