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Acura tasked its agency to activate its 'Oh What Fun it is to Drive' Winter Sales Event by connecting with a hard to engage, advertising averse, yet socially connected audience. The agency's idea was to reinvent a holiday tradition. Classic slot car races provided a powerful insight and mechanism: rekindle the love and excitement of getting an iconic toy, and translate that nostalgia into the joy of considering a new car.   


This insight led agency Ignition to bring back the slot car like you've never seen before, in a first event of its kind, never been done before: The first Periscope-powered race inviting users to #RaceYourHeartOut 


Using two live commentators – Factory Acura Racing Driver Ryan Eversley and Sports broadcaster Greg Mescall – and a multi-camera real-time broadcast, users could experience driving an Acura TLX by powering the slot car track through the Periscope app on their mobile phone. 

The agency customised and connected two 3D printed Acura TLX slot carts and each was given their own Periscope account. Users selected and followed on Periscope the TLX they wanted to race, then joined the car's broadcast and simply "hearted" the screen by tapping on a heart in the bottom right hand corner of the screen – which powered the car down the track. The more the viewers on each team would "heart", the faster their slot car would go.  

How did it work? Every heart press was monitored real-time on both Periscope accounts. Arduino then converted the heart into a unit of current and accelerated the corresponding slot car.   

Check out the campaign video here: 


Being the holiday season there was a charitable bonus feature – the purse for each race was worth a $500 donation to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Two hours and 20 races later, the event had generated over 60,000 hearts in one hour and raised $10,000. In total, users watched 75 hours of races and Acura brand media. Acura’s rate of hearts on Periscope increased 190%.  

Alicia Jones, head of social media for Acura commented: “Messaging a sales event is difficult to do effectively or natively in social media due to the heavy-handed sales message,” she says. “Simultaneously, we’re always looking to try innovative ways to engage with fans in social. With this approach, we were able to do both.”

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December - December 2015
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