Subaru tests its handling against an army of drones

To demonstrate the handling and performance of the 2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI, Subaru Canada has launched “WRX STI vs. The Drones”, a national campaign centered on a video that shows the car expertly navigating a changing course made up of a fleet of flying drones. Developed by DDB Canada, agency of record for […]

To demonstrate the handling and performance of the 2015 Subaru WRX and WRX STI, Subaru Canada has launched “WRX STI vs. The Drones”, a national campaign centered on a video that shows the car expertly navigating a changing course made up of a fleet of flying drones.

Developed by DDB Canada, agency of record for Subaru Canada, the 30-second spot launched online Monday and will begin appearing in cinemas and on television this week.

Rob Sturch, associate creative director at DDB, told Marketing that the agency was looking for a unique way to demonstrate the sedan’s precision, reaction time, and high-speed cornering.

“This new-generation WRX STI has been enhanced to deliver even more precise steering and responsive handling than earlier models, so we were looking for a way to show just how quickly and precisely it could act in a performance environment,” Sturch said.

“A traditional slalom test wouldn’t do. We thought that a course that could shift and change on the fly would much better demonstrate just how incredible the vehicle can react. We arrived at using drones to make this course because they are a trending technology that are highly agile, exact, and futuristic –much like the WRX STI itself.”

The video – a mix of CG footage and live action – took eight weeks to develop. DDB Canada did a one-day shoot to capture all the live footage, along with an array of reference material that the animators would use for lighting, environment and reflections.

“We didn’t want to take creative license on the way the car performs, so we worked with the team at Big Block who uses a proprietary driving simulator called Drive-a-Tron that accurately and precisely replicates the way this particular model drives in real-life” said Sturch. “By loading the manufacturer’s [design] data into the simulator, we were able to drive a virtual version of this exact model through the course that acted as if it were real, down to the way the tires deform under pressure. It took a number of passes to get the driving scenes just right – especially the jump.”

Other elements of the campaign include digital, print, POS and social outreach targeting tech, automotive and gadget influencers. OMD is responsible for the media buy and Tribal Worldwide is handling social media and blogger outreach for the campaign.

A branded experience with Xbox Live is set to take place at the end of April. Xbox users will be able to watch the video, get a closer look at the car, and play a drone-driving course game.

According to Sturch, “WRX STI vs. The Drones” is targeted to a broad demographic while still appealing to thrill seekers and racing enthusiasts.

“These models are no longer just for the boy-racer. They open the doors to a larger group of people who appreciate pure performance.”

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