One hot trend in automotive marketing is the giant, experiential video game—a public event that brings car gaming out of the living room and into the real world. Mercedes in South Africa did this with a racing game that let people using tablet computers control cars projected on outdoor boards and buildings. Smart car in Germany did something even more immersive, organizing real-world games of Pong between actual drivers behind the wheel of actual Smart cars—moving forward and backward to play the game on a big screen.
Now, it's Ford's turn. In France, with help from Ogilvy Paris, the automaker has delivered a retro-tastic stunt based on an arcade game that long predates computers—pinball.
Working off the insight that bad drivers turn parallel parking into a pinball game—bumping the cars in front and back of them, over and over—Ogilvy decided to make the game more official. The agency installed a giant pinball screen above an empty parking spot in Paris, then rigged the bumpers of the adjacent cars to react like pinball bumpers. The more the drivers hit the cars next to them, the "higher" their score. As you can see in the video below, the man with the highest score—the worst driver of the day—was presented with a new Ford with active park assist technology, which lets the vehicle parallel park itself.
Cars are supposed to be fun to drive, which makes the gamification trend in auto marketing appropriate—even inspired, in its more clever executions. Kudos to Ford for even managing to find the fun in parking.