Mitsubishi Motors (www.mitsubishi-motors.com) has recently launched a campaign that centers on virtual test drive. Rather than releasing the usual gaming console where one can drive a Mitsubishi vehicle, the carmaker is letting drivers around the US drive a real Mitsubishi Outlander Sport on a closed track by controlling the car remotely via computer.
The program, which will run on November 1 to 10, is the world’s first online test drive, according to Mitsubishi. Developed with the company’s Web designer Simon Cave and robotics expert James Brighton, the program is concurrent with print, TV, digital and direct-mail campaign beginning in mid-October to January.
The test drive operates with point-of-view cameras integrated in the car, servo motors and electronic receivers to control the car’s dynamics, as well as GPS mapping. Participants can sign up for the test-drive starting October 15 at OutlanderSport.com, where they can obtain a code that can be used to line up for the test drive on November 1.
“Since April this year we have gotten back on TV, but we are also working on social media programs because we have a very passionate consumer base,” said Gregory Adams, vice president for marketing at Mitsubishi’s North American operations.
“We want to drive everyone there,” he said, adding that the initial raft of print ads and TV commercials will attract more people to sign up for the event. Mitsubishi will let at least 700 people a day for the test during the 10-day period.
Adams said the initial ads supporting the test-drive event “will run for three weeks to drive awareness and maintain water cooler buzz. It’s very important to our objective of putting Mitsubishi back in the light we belong in. Once the online test is complete, everything switches to more product-focused advertising.”