In the case of Lincoln's "Sound and Vision" project, it turns out less is more.
Last week, the automaker released what it billed as the "fully immersive digital experience" of its much-commented-on Beck-covers-Bowie concert. In English, that roughly means a website that lets viewers wander around a virtual facsimile of the show. On the site, visitors can see all of theater-in-the-round's 160-musician ensemble, and hear different versions of the mix based on their positions, during the various stages of the performance.
As Wired outlines, it was an impressive feat of production—filmed with 360-degree camera rigs and recorded with microphone setups designed to mimic the human ear. That's another notch in the already-impressive belt of @radical.media director Chris Milk.
Still, even the high-definition version comes across as grainy and underwhelming, kind of like the digital version of a town car. The facial-recognition software—an optional, hands-free method for controlling the camera's perspective—is kludgy, and a distraction from the more remarkable piece of the campaign, which is the performance itself. And perhaps not surprisingly, the visuals themselves don't really add all that much. Watching people in the audience tap their feet and members of the orchestra wait for their entrances, it turns out, doesn't really make for all that good television. That's doubly true in contrast to Beck's own dynamic stage presence.
In fact, as great an experiment as the would-be-digital-wonderland seemed in theory, the plain old edited, focused, nine-minute regular video version of the performance (posted below), and the accompanying mix, make for a much better overall package without the bells and whistles of the gimmick. Especially because the concert itself is so good.
Still, for what it's worth, the campaign has drummed up a fair amount of attention for a brand nobody thought was capable of surprising anyone. And maybe it'll help Lincoln escape the widespread impression that it exists solely for the purpose of making limos.
Agency: Hudson Rouge
Agency: Willo Perron & Associates
Production Company: @radical.media
Director: Chris Milk