The pandemic drastically altered how live experiences are produced. While festivals and large gatherings are still on hold, the emergence of open-air, car-focused events allows consumers to experience an engaging and unique branded touchpoint to enjoy from the comfort of their vehicles.
Pop-up drive-thru and drive-in events offer a welcome and effective option for engaging consumers who spent most of 2020 attending virtual events through laptop and smartphone screens. Through these (from a distance) in-person interactions, brands can safely create shareable and memorable experiences.
According to Bizzabo’s “Evolution of Events” study, 68% of marketers struggled to keep consumers engaged with virtual events compared with in-person touchpoints. This trend is pushing brands to find ways within the current landscape to stay top-of-mind with consumers. We recently worked with Lexus to develop an immersive drive-in event that activated attendees’ senses and left them with an unforgettable brand experience.
A Culinary and Film Experience — Courtesy of Lexus
Despite restrictions on in-person gatherings, there’s still a growing desire for socially distanced events. That’s why ASV collaborated with Lexus for the brand’s inaugural “Lexus Culinary Cinema.” This three-night event hosted at L.A. LIVE’s Event Deck took typical drive-in gatherings to a new level. It featured nightly three-course gourmet meals curated by Lexus Culinary Masters chefs Vinny Dotolo, Jon Shook, Ludo Lefebvre, and Carlo Mirarchi.
The main course each night was inspired by the evening’s feature film being shown on a 34-foot-by-60-foot LED screen and in front of more than 100 vehicles. Chefs Jon and Vinny kicked the weekend off with a dish inspired by Friday night’s showing of “Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood,” Chef Ludo followed the next evening by pairing a plate with Oscar-winner “Sideways,” and Chef Carlo closed the weekend out with a dish inspired by “Little Miss Sunshine.”
The partnership — done in conjunction with Team One and Lexus North America — wasn’t just another opportunity to push out the Lexus brand. It provided attendees with a welcome respite from the four walls of their homes and offered a memorable in-person experience at a time when those moments are few and far between.
Drive-in and drive-thru events combine socialization, entertainment, and comfort. Plus, it’s a versatile platform that companies can modify to fit within their brands’ values and aesthetic guidelines.
With a successful drive-in experiential activation, Lexus has generated awareness and exposure for its brand and engaged its target audience in exciting and positive ways during a time when those interactions aren’t exactly commonplace. By creatively addressing the intersection between consumer demands for in-person events and safety guidelines due to the pandemic, Lexus’ branded experience is a stellar example of experiential marketing done right in the age of COVID-19.