Virtual Test Drive, Driving Tour

While marketing folks have found video to be an efficient and effective way to promote their concepts and products, nothing beats experiencing them first-hand.



Road Trip – Cream VR recently completed a series of 360 degree innovation road trip videos for Lexus to highlight the fun and pleasure of driving the cars to exciting, interesting locations. 


Andrew MacDonald, creative director at Cream VR in Toronto, thinks that’s probably why marketing teams were the first to see the advantages of virtual reality in promoting their products.

Citing their recent project for Lexus, he said the video series was designed for both social media viewing as well as for people visiting the dealership where they could put on an HMD (head-mounted display) and “visit” locations in Canada and the Southwest U.S –


With VR, the Cream team was able to both tell a story and give the viewer the ability to look around inside and outside the cars to maximize the experience.


“Our biggest challenge though was to give the viewer the feeling of being a part of the driving experience without causing any damage to the vehicle,” he recalled.  “Lexus was a little touchy about getting the car back in the same condition we got it…without nicks or scratches.”


“To deliver that experience, we devised a method of extending the VR camera out from the car on a long carbon fibre pole, giving the effect of a camera flying alongside the car,” MacDonald explained.

Opening Scenes – Cream VR’s creative director Tristan Cezair begins production work on the newest 360 VR Lexus video that will be shown on YouTube and in showrooms where consumers can gain the complete, immersive driving experience. 


Because they were shooting at multiple locations and on a tight budget, getting it right – and keeping it – was important to the Cream VR crew.


The theme for the Lexus series was innovation; so, in the Arizona segment, they featured a solar engineer at a massive solar power plant shooting in temperatures of 110 degrees.


“You definitely didn’t want to have to go back and put your body through that kind of torture, especially when you’re used to Toronto weather,” he added.


Capturing content with their four camera VR rig in tandem with a traditional film crew shooting on several 4k cinema cameras and a drone, the whole production produced terabytes of content daily.

“Being able to efficiently and safely store the footage, while on the road was essential; and that was where their OWC ThunderBay storage units came in very handy.” he noted.


Back at their studio, they quickly stitched and post produced the Lexus series for distribution to the company’s dealerships and posted them online.


Lexus has been an early adopter of VR as a medium and made a strong play producing many VR spots. Some have been more showroom oriented with “sit in the car and experience it” kind of stuff. Others include content like the “Invisible” series with Lexus sponsorship.


In this case, they went for a documentary style VR piece that combined the experience of driving a Lexus with factual entertainment which Cream does so well.

The host of this series was Les Stroud (AKA “Survivorman”) which was originally a Cream-produced show.


“Good marketing video content that is produced with the audience in mind produces results you can see, results you can measure,” said MacDonald.


Forrester Research’s Dr. James McQuivey may have been erring on the conservative side when he said one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words because he wasn’t including the enhanced experience VR provides.

Andy is Owner and President of Marken Communications Inc. a Marketing and Communications Consultant, located in the San Francisco area in August 1977 to Present.Marken Communications is a full-service agency that concentrates on business/market planning, positioning, development, and communications. The 30 year agency has been involved with a broad range of corporate and marketing activities. Experience includes strategic and market planning and execution with communications and Internet firms including AT&T and CERFnet as well as in storage, storage management and video solutions with firms including Philips, InterVideo, Ulead, OWC, NewerTech, Sonic, Corel, Matsushita, Pinnacle, Dazzle, Cyberlink, Mountain Computer, Nikon, Plasmon, NTI, ADS Tech, Verbatim, Mitsubishi and Panasonic.
Andy Marken
Broadcast Beat - Production Industry Resource