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NEW YORK More and more companies are taking the high-tech road when it comes to experiential marketing, and last week saw the latest use of immersive video projections with Ralph Lauren's four-dimensional installation at events in New York and London. At the events—produced to mark the 10th year of the fashion company's online shopping site and the launch of e-commerce in the U.K.—the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation washed the facades of Manhattan's Madison Avenue and London's New Bond Street stores with images of polo players, models, and its products on November 10. More than 1,000 guests attended the eight-minute shows on each continent, staged five hours apart to take advantage of each city's nighttime hours.
Overseeing the multisensory spectacle was David Lauren, senior vice president of advertising, marketing, and corporate communications, who explained that the installation was, in part, a way for the company to underscore its dedication to new technology. “The light show is an extension of the company’s dedication to pioneering the digital space with exciting and unique concepts,” he said.
To realize the vision, Lauren enlisted a number of companies—from U.K.-based Drive Productions and United Video Artists to New York experiential agency MKG—who all collaborated under the direction of the creative teams at Ralph Lauren. In total, some 150 people worked on the seven-month-long project, which required architecturally mapping every stone, cornice, and window at each location and generating 3-D replicas of the buildings. Polo also hired 100 people involved in the Harry Potter films to assist with the special effects.
For the New York event producers, the main goal was to ensure a presentation that was consistent with the London version, while fine-tuning the intricacies of the program to match the site-specific installation. On the night of the event, that required closing two lanes on Madison Avenue and temporarily halting traffic. Even the few trees in front of the Rhinelander Mansion, where guests stood to watch the show projected on the opposite building (the new women’s shop housed in a Beaux-Arts mansion), had their branches trimmed back so as not to obstruct views. The facade did provide a good surface for reflecting the point-pixels of light, allowing the images to look as if they were leaping out onto the street.
Ralph Lauren didn’t disclose the cost of the event, which was estimated to be more than six figures, but did spread the promotion virally by posting videos from both events on its Web site.