From safety and security to innovation and design, the auto brands at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, March 30 through April 8, at the Javits Center in Manhattan, had plenty of stories to tell about their latest offerings. To engage consumers in those stories, they leveraged immersive technology, social media scavenger hunts and emotion-evoking moments, among tactics. What resonated most? Six topline experiential trends that emerged from team EM’s spin around the show floor.
Young attendees engaged in AR and VR experiences as much as their older counterparts.
Trend #1. Demystification Through Immersive Tech
As vehicles become more autonomous, electrified and packed with new safety features, consumers could easily feel inundated by all the fancy new technology. Enter virtual and augmented reality as educational tools. Brands are using them as storytelling devices to demystify—and gamify—complex concepts in compelling ways. An added bonus: increased dwell time.
To drum up buzz for the launch of the 10th generation Accord, Honda created an AR experience dubbed the HondaLens, built on the HoloLens platform. Consumers were able to walk around the vehicle while learning about its technology and history and view dynamic animations—effectively virtualizing the car manual.
We saw another HoloLens experience over at Nissan, where the brand educated attendees on the drivetrain, safety and autonomous features of the new Nissan Leaf by illustrating the invisible world that’s actually happening around the car through sensors and cameras that enable intelligent features. Consumers could also unlock immersive product features from their devices via the Nissan Innovation Experience. Wherever they saw a smartphone icon in the exhibit, they could open the app to reveal an AR overlay bringing to life additional vehicle information.
Over at Acura, consumers could design their own professional racecar in the NSX GT3 VR simulator while getting their hands on an actual steering wheel, and both Volvo and Toyota illustrated safety technologies through VR activations. Adding a little comfort to the booth this year, Toyota’s Fine Comfort Ride VR Experience let consumers sit back and enjoy the (automated) ride.
One of our favorite observations? Young consumers (really young) engaging in AR and VR—even if some of the headgear threatened to topple them over. We spotted a quartet riding Ford’s City of Tomorrow VR ride, which took them through a futuristic city and detailed Ford’s vision of the connected future. The ride’s intermittent shaking resulted in a moment of partial panic for one little tyke, but he soon stabilized after a quick peek at his neighbor.
Nissan’s HoloLens experience educated attendees on the drivetrain, safety and autonomous features of the new Nissan Leaf.
Trend #2. Nostalgia Marketing
Volkswagen’s space evoked nostalgia with framed family photos reminiscent of Polaroids, and a metal flip disc display.
We saw plenty of examples of nostalgia marketing on the floor. But it wasn’t just for the older folks. The nostalgia trend is succeeding at entertaining all generations—and that’s imperative when families take an entire day to spend at the auto show.
Volkswagen’s space, for …read more