Issue 27

Driving The Message Home

Reinventing the car launch event.


27 March 2011

Text:/ Matt Caton

We’ve all seen enough car commercials to know how the formula works. Take the car in question, show it driving around either an urban cityscape or a picturesque country/seaside landscape (depending on the car), and make sure that no other vehicles are visible in shot. To add a bit of spice, sometimes we see the car driven into very unusual situations such as a coffee shop or a bank. It’s a well-worn cliche but one that nevertheless seems to have a successful track record. 

It is far more difficult though, to translate this style of car commercial into the live car launch; for reasons I shouldn’t need to list here.This didn’t stop Mitsubishi during its five-state national roadshow to launch the Mitsubishi ASX (Active Smart Crossover) to its dealer principals and sales staff. In fact, it embraced the well-worn cliche by adding a clever new element. The campaign for this particular car placed it as the ‘city sized SUV’ (Sports Utility Vehicle), and in the campaign the vehicle was placed in and around various city scenes. To help recreate this for the roadshow, Mitsubishi engaged Kojo Events (which also produces Mitsubishi’s television commercials) to create a ‘digital’ set, which placed both the live vehicle and the presenters in a series of familiar city landscapes, and one ‘not so familiar’ location. 


“The beauty of using projection to produce the images in the background was that we could change the imagery as desired, but more importantly, the background images could move,” explains Daniel Tippett, General Manager of Kojo Events. “For example, the car could move slowly across the stage, and with the background whizzing past at a rate of knots, it gave the impression the car was speeding along a freeway.” 

To complement the marketing of the ASX as a ‘city sized SUV’, Kojo created an event that saw the car drive onto the stage and appear to drive along a highway until it came to a halt alongside an inner-suburban cafe. The café was depicted on the screen behind the car and was reinforced using a cafe table with chairs, umbrella and mushroom heater which matched the furnishing on the backdrop. The driver of the car exited and was greeted by a female companion sitting at the table. Simple, but very effective.


At first glance, you would expect this to be a rear projection job, but due to the need for a high intensity image – along with sever space restrictions in some of the venues – Kojo projected onto the 13.5m x 4m AV Stumpfl screen from a position that could almost be described as ‘above’. To get over the set pieces and the car itself, the two Barco FLM HD20 projectors where placed very high, with the image produced by some clever use of lens shift. This also required the car, which was under two metres away from the screen, to be precisely positioned.

The video playback was via Renewed Vision’s ProVideoPlayer HD running on four Apple iMac computers, while the DVI signal was distributed using fibreoptic cable. The entire presentation was controlled by a Barco Encore video presentation system.

The extended presentation elements were created and played on Apple’s Keynote, including some of the audio. Shure R-Series radio mics and Clearcom wireless comms were used by the presenters, with the sound reinforced by L-Acoustics XT115 and SB118 subs run off a Yamaha M7CL digital console.

Novatech Creative Event Technology provided the technical labour services which included an audio tech, two lighting techs and a video tech, with content and show-call managed by Kojo.

Image courtesy Kojo Events


The original concept for the presentation was created by Daniel Tippett, Kevin Beacham and the late John Chataway from Kojo. “We designed in Vectorworks and Cinema 4D then collaborated with Novatech, which then used Vectorworks to ensure accurate lighting and video placement,” explains Daniel.

The video presentation was directed by John Chataway, while the motion graphics team at Kojo built the animated background. Adriano Candeloro and Graham Milkins collaborated on creating the Keynote presentations.


To round out the illusion, Kojo injected a touch of theatrics into the show. Thirty conventional lighting fixtures were joined by a series of LED feature lights and some Martin Mac 700 and GLP Impression moving head fixtures, all run off a GrandMA console. The installation required an extensive rigging design and precise placement to ensure an even projection outcome within the restrictions of each of the venues around the country. The set pieces that depicted the cafe, which were nicely revealed using lighting, were complemented by extensive draping and tab-track reveals for the car, to round out a nice little theatrical event.

The clever project earned Kojo a finalist position in the AVIA category of Best AV Production, a fact that the General Manager is quite pleased about. “Managing to allow vehicles and presenters to move in close proximity to the projection, while keeping the experience intimate for the audience and making sure sight lines were optimal, was the real triumph.”

This launch provided the perfect solution for Mitsubishi, in a cost-effective manner, and was executed with military precision in five states in 10 working days. But really, how can you go wrong when you blend cutting-edge technical design, with some good old fashioned theatre?

Client: Mitsubishi Motors (
Event production and design: Kojo Events (
Production services and equipment supply: Novatech Creative Event Technology (
Touring logistics: Australian Touring Services (


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