A Ride Down Memory Lane

How One Brand Used Experiential Marketing and Traditional Filmmaking To Forge An Emotional Connection With Its Customers

Do you dream about the wind in your hair, the freedom of the open road, and the exhilaration of a ride that takes you to places new and unknown?

Most motorcycle lovers remember exactly how they felt the first time they jumped on their bike and took to the open road.

This was the premise for the Honda Dream Garage Commercials. Dailey Ideas needed to help their client Honda create a memorable and emotional connection between Motorcycle and ATV consumers and the Honda brand. The goal was to design a surprising, personalized experience to bring the Honda Dream Garage commercials to life.

Agencies are looking for ways to connect people with brands. In the case of the Honda Dream Garage campaign, the goal was to reawaken that connection by creating an immersive experience. But how do you create such an experience? What tools do you use? StarBeast collaborated with the agency folks at Dailey to find the right tools, and to implement them using the perfect balance of art, technology and storytelling to evoke connection.

Designing the Experience – Let’s Go For A Ride

For the Honda Dream Garage commercials, Starbeast and Dailey concluded that the key to accomplishing Honda’s vision was to design an authentic and unexpected personal experience for the talent/actors that was powerful enough to translate into an experience for the audience.  To do this we combined elements of experiential marketing, virtual reality, and traditional filmmaking.

Under the guise of looking for passionate motorcycle riders for a documentary we invited people who had once owned Honda motorcycles and ATVs to speak to us about their riding passions and dreams. Next we immersed these real riders in a world of wonder and enjoyment to awaken their memories of passion and love for riding. Once immersed, we captured the riders’ reactions to create a film that underscored the intimate and meaningful connections these riders had with their motorcycle or ATV.


The Element of Surprise

At the heart of this production was the actors’ authentic reactions to the product and the imagery projected onto the Honda Dream Garage. These moments would be the bridge that connects the Honda Dream Garage experience to the larger consumer audience. So, creating and maintaining the surprise was paramount.

We listened to the Honda owners’ stories about riding and then, behind the scenes, we combined custom 270-degree virtual reality films, projection mapping, and a clever set-design, to create a personalized experiential dream garage for each rider.

The riders were invited back for one more interview about their riding experiences. This time, they were in for a much bigger surprise!  Instead of an interview, we put each rider in the Dream Garage. Then, with the flip of a switch, the lights went out and the projection screens turned on. At that moment, the rider was instantly transported and immersed into their own riding dreams and memories.

Through traditional filming, we were able to capture their spontaneous emotional reactions and, thus visually reveal their stories. Stories of genuine connection to riding a Honda bike or ATV.  Stories that viewers could feel and perhaps pique their own interest in riding.

Artists With Technology

To achieve the surprise and create a memorable experience that reached beyond the Dream Garage, we utilized a creative and artistically applied combination of film technology, including virtual reality footage, experiential marketing and traditional filmmaking.

One example of this artistic application of technology for the Honda Dream Garage commercials was the use of projection mapping. In reality, memories are infused with filters. We experience our memories and dreams through our feelings and the snapshots in our minds. The projections that brought the walls and floors to life in the Honda Dream Garage commercials mirrored that filter. They gave the moving images a dreamlike, immersive quality. They were the right tool for this experience, because the goal was to evoke memories and dreams.

Another example of an artistic application of a modern technical tool for the Honda Dream Garage commercials was the use of 270 degree virtual reality footage. Yes, you read that right. Not 360. 270. You would think that taking 90 degrees out of 360 footage would be easy, it is not.

Virtual reality footage is often designed to create a 360 degree experience for just one user–think virtual reality goggles. For the Honda Dream Garage, we had to stretch the capabilities of the virtual reality camera array so that we could offer a window into a personal experience for a larger audience. This was imperative because ultimately, we needed to transcend that experience beyond the stage and into the minds and emotions of the consumer.

Connect With The Audience

What makes the consumer feel a personal connection with a product and a brand? Well…it depends. In this case, Dailey and StarBeast agreed that the vehicle for connection was memories and dreams. Riding a motorcycle is a one-person, maybe two-person experience. So, it made sense to utilize the personal elements of experiential marketing to draw out the emotional element of personal stories. But how do you expand that feeling to the larger consumer audience?

Experiential marketing allows the consumer to connect closely with the brand by dropping them in the center of a fun and memorable experience. The goal of experiential marketing is to form a memorable and emotional bond between the consumer and the brand, so that it may generate customer loyalty and influence purchase decisions. For the Honda Dream Garage commercials, that bond was captured in the Dream Garage. Then, with the use of traditional film and visual storytelling the stories could reach beyond the Dream Garage and into the minds and emotions of the viewers.

The Final Cut

Our vehicles are an extension of ourselves. Our stories. Our lives. The more we drive, the more we feel our vehicle’s soul. It’s why we give them names. They allow us to travel beyond our bodies, as we do in our dreams.

For the Honda Dream Garage campaign, Dailey and Honda envisioned a personalized Dream Garage experience that would inspire people to get back on their bikes and enjoy the ride! Or, hop on for the first time and live the dream! By artistically applying the right technical tools for the job, and balancing the use of art, technology and emotion, Dailey and StarBeast worked together to achieve this vision. The result was a stylized blend of experiential marketing and traditional filmmaking that spoke to a shared dream between brand and consumer–the joy of riding!

honda GW Broadcast from StarBeast on Vimeo.

Perhaps connecting brands with an audience is both an art and a science that begins by considering how the two impact each other, and then drawing out the story that they are already co-creating. Asking the question: What is the story you have in common?

Nick Losq
StarBeast's Founder & Chief Creative Officer. Nick is an accomplished director who possesses a rare combination of artistic vision and technical expertise. He continually pushes the boundaries of digital technique to create visual stories that draw audiences in. Nick has worked on campaigns for clients including Disney, ESPN, VOX, Blizzard, Overwatch League, Anheuser-Bucsh, Nike, Acura, Honda, Guinness, HP and more.
Nick Losq on Linkedin