Toyota South Africa, with the help of award-winning digital agency, Hellocomputer, and staging maestro, Thingking, have designed, built and installed the world's first-ever outdoor website in Johannesburg.
The bespoke website launched Toyota South Africa's all-new RAV4, a vehicle that is built to take you from your desk to the choppy rivers of the Drakensberg or the peaks of Kaaimans Gorge.
Hellocomputer did just that by taking adventurers from behind their desktops to navigate a real-life website at the Bryanston Cycle Park. Oh yes, using a mountain bike as a cursor.
Sited on a 1500 metre mountain biking track, the outdoor website is a scaled-up, interactive version of the actual website designed to showcase the new RAV4 at www.rav4.co.za and take a test drive, right then and there.
This is how it did just that: http://www.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 quirkily spin or 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.
But, as they say, 'that's not all!' In line with what one does nowadays when experiencing something new or innovative, 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.
Toyota's Senior Manager of Marketing Communications and Planning, Pieter Klerck, is an outdoor man himself and thrilled with the unconventional launch conceptualised by Hellocomputer, the digital agency in the Draftfcb group, Toyota's long-standing marketing partner.
"Toyota wanted to introduce South Africa to the all-new RAV4 in a bold and dynamic way and the world's first-ever outdoor website delivered by Hellocomputer is just that," he said.
"It's an off-line adventure for bushwhackers, weekend warriors, and anyone else who's interested in experiencing a world first. So, take a spin through this real-life website, before you take a test drive in the actual vehicle."
"Hitting buttons, cornering specs, and slicing through URLs as cyclists manoeuvred their way through the most experiential website ever, on a mountain bike. Yes, it sounds surreal, but it was real. And we're certain it will deliver an impressive ROI for Toyota," said Hellocomputer's Managing Director, Derek Coles.
"Hat's off to our creative team for this world first. This was an extraordinary response to an ordinary brief, but thanks to an extraordinary client it rocked Jozi, and more importantly, our cyclists with an adventurous spirit."
The Toyota RAV4 website launched successfully at the Bryanston Cycle Park, putting a world first in Hellocomputer's back pocket, and leaving cyclists with a good reason to make the new RAV4 theirs.