Behind the scenes: Ford Fiesta's European launch

How Ford Fiesta brought to life the different personalities of the car for a recent experiential media launch in Spain.

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The brief

Ford of Europe worked with Essex-based creative agency Mansfields Design to come up with something 'experiential and different' to celebrate the launch of Britain’s best-selling car to the European media and to challenge guests to think about the distinct personalities of each model within the new Fiesta portfolio.

The experience

In the grounds of the event venue at the Castilla Termal Monasterio de Valbuena, located around 200km from Madrid, Mansfields Design created a bespoke experience area within a stand-alone structure that featured immersion zones, each designed to highlight how our personalities as individuals are influenced by the reactions and perceptions we experience through our five senses.

Ivor Frankland, creative director of Mansfields Design, explains: "We wanted to invite guests to see how their personal reactions to sensory stimuli can be linked to their emotional connection with each of the individual models in the new Fiesta range – whether they prefer the comfort and elegance of the new Fiesta Titanium, the sportiness of the new FiestaST-Line, the refined luxury of the new Fiesta Vignale, the adventurous appeal of the new Fiesta Active or the thrill of the feisty Fiesta ST."

"Our key messages were about Fiesta being a very advanced small car, but also one that is fun and stylish to drive," says Finn Thomasen, European communications manager at Ford Motor Company. "We wanted the event to relay that Fiesta speaks to your senses. When you see it, when you sit in it, when you drive it and engage with the car, it’s a fun car to be with. Instead of telling people about technical details, we set out to appeal to people’s senses with an experience."

The sensory zones

Touch: The structure featured a 'Touch Tunnel' designed to heighten someone’s sense of touch. The area took guests on a journey in complete darkness through a maze of materials from both the natural and manmade world, and the new Ford Fiesta. Guests felt their way through the environment and encountered a variety of materials lining the walls of the tunnel, including tree bark, artificial grass, sponge, cork, bubble wrap, sticky tape and a collage of rubber gloves, leading up to the Fiesta materials like Titanium’s new Domo cloth seat trim and Fiesta Vignale’s quilted Winsor Leather. A ‘night vision’ camera captured images of guests as they progressed through the tunnel.

Sight: The See 360 room showed how the Ford Fiesta can ‘see’ all around itself. Using a combination of front and rear cameras, front and rear radars and 12 ultrasonic sensors, the new Fiesta can detect other vehicles and objects, including pedestrians. As guests walked through the space around an outline sculpture of the Fiesta body shell, projected beams were activated to demonstrate the combination of smart driver assistance technologies available in the new model. The room was mirrored on all sides to create a feeling of space.

Sound: One of the highlights of the new Fiesta is its optional B&O Play premium audio system. To showcase the system, guests were invited inside one of two sound booths to take the Tune-In Challenge. A camera inside each booth captured the emotions guests expressed while they listened to a variety of pieces of music through B&O Play wireless headphones.

Smell and taste: The five individual personalities of the new Fiesta were further brought to life in the 'Which Fiesta are You?' taste and smell experience, created in partnership with London-based Cock & Tail Bars. Guests were invited to select a Fiesta model and then invited to smell and taste two 'shots' created to match the personality of that particular model. Flavours included melon, beetroot and blueberry, and red pepper and chilli.

The experience also featured a 'Fiesta Carousel', which allowed guests to put themselves in the centre of a line-up of life-sized half mannequins, each painted in one of the 12 paint finishes available on the new Fiesta range. A 360-degree camera at the centre of the carousel then took photos for guests to share.

Guests were able to quiz engineers for technical details in various 'Talk Zones' around the experience, too.

Future plans

"The experience was positively received by our guests because it offered an element of self-discovery, freedom and flexibility," says Thomasen. "It also allowed them to have a little bit of fun, rather than having to sit down for an hour listening to a talk. We are planning to use this concept as a template. There’s always room for improvement and we can fine tune it as we go along, but it’s definitely a suitable format for future events."

More: Earlier this year, Ford built an experience centre in New York to showcase the brand's expansion into mobility solutions.

Also, check out Event TV: How Honda created its Challenge Lab at Goodwood Festival this year.

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