DETROIT – Before being revealed to media during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Monday, the all-new Ford F-150 roared its way into Joe Louis Arena stage, introducing Ford employees, retirees as well as family and friends to the next generation of Built Ford Tough during the fourth annual NAIAS Employee Preview event.
Preparing for such an important and dramatic reveal was no small task, and Bud Price, executive vice president and chief creative & production officer for Gail and Rice Productions, let us in on the magic that is an auto show press event - click here to watch video.
"Planning for this show began in November,” said Price. “And the last ten days have been spent perfecting and tweaking to make everything just right. We were fine tuning even ten minutes prior to the conference opening today. ”
Pulling off such a large production in such a tight timeframe is the greatest challenge according to Price, but he added that messaging and details for something as complex as a new vehicle reveal often are not known well in advance.
In early November, a team of Gail and Rice creatives began the development process by brainstorming ideas for the event. To mirror the magnitude of the new truck, Price and his team wanted something impactful. They decided to use a technique called projection mapping to digitally immerse the audience in a true One Ford experience.
With more than 80 projectors sending images, video, graphics and text to a pristine white multi-dimensional surface spanning 200 feet and towering four and a half stories in the air, the audience was drawn in.
Effects on the expansive projection surface even appeared three dimensional at times. At one point the surface went all white and just as quickly morphed into a series of hundreds of 3-D blocks all rolling and flipping in time to reveal the next image.
Adrenaline-induced music coursed through the arena while other intense audio, including the sounds of slicing metal and pounding rock accompanied emotive visuals, captivated the audience. In an instant a larger than life F-150 grille appeared to be hurling toward the crowd via the massive screen and then with much flare, several all-new pickups burst through paper barriers finally revealing themselves for all to see.
Cue lighting that hit each truck perfectly from every angle and the F-150 was surrounded in an atmosphere almost as powerful as itself.
Of course, there was more to the conference than drama and entertainment alone. Key messages also were relayed in text and graphics perfectly choreographed to accent speeches delivered by Executive Chairman Bill Ford, President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, Executive Vice President and President of The Americas Joe Hinrichs and Group Vice President of Global Product Development Raj Nair.
By all accounts the press conference was the total package, relaying Ford’s F-150 message in a way people not only enjoyed, but will remember for years to come.
“I’ve been working with Ford on auto show press conferences for 17 straight years now and the the goal is always to present the vehicle in the best light you can present it in, and in the case of tough trucks, to present them in the most exciting way you can,” said Price. “But the really important thing is no matter what kind of technology you use, and what kind of screens and what kind of visuals, the star of the show is always the car – or the truck in this case. It has to be something that puts forth all of the vehicle attributes and gets people to understand what’s new in the product and what’s really important about the product.”