Commonwealth's New Campaign for Corvette Taps into the Brains of Drivers

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Here's something we haven't seen in automotive advertising before: brainwaves. To launch the new 2014 Corvette Stingray, Commonwealth has launched "World's First Reverse Test Drive," a campaign that gets into drivers' heads, literally, to illustrate what it's like to drive the newly engineered vehicle.

The agency recruited test drivers from a range of backgrounds (entrepreneur/restaurateur Phillip Cooley, Fitfluential CEO Kelly Olexa, Gran Turismo producer Kazunori Yamauchi, lifestyle blogger Terry McFly and co-founder Phillip Cooley) to take a spin on the Stingray on a closed track. Throughout, the drivers didn't test the Stingray; the Stingray tested them. It monitored the drivers' biostatistics as they zoomed around the course, recording brain waves and biometrics info and how they converged with the car's telematics data.

The point of the experiment was to show how driving the Stingray has a "transformative" effect on those behind the wheel.The Stingray "is a completely reengineered vehicle and brings a whole new driving experience," explained Global Deputy Chief Creative Officer Andreas Dahlqvist. "An experience is very personal and intangible -- how do you show what that looks like? Some of it is physical and some of it is cerebral. We captured both."

Accompanying the film is the "Precision Challenge," an online game that tests viewers' spatical recognition, recall and reaction times.The agency worked with production company B-Reel and biometric and brain wave experts to build the setup that tracked the drivers' data. B-Reel is no stranger to neuro-reading experiments and previously worked on a campaign for furniture maker Varier that translated kids' brain activity into textile patterns.

The sophisticated digital challenges, however, proved no match for the more run-of-the-mill production snafus. "In the midst of all this high-tech stuff, we found ourselves having to do something as basic as shaving the chests of a couple of our drivers to attach the monitoring devices," said Mr. Dahlqvist.

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