Lexus’ fourth Amazing in Motion project from CHI&Partners features a real-life hoverboard
It’s like something out of Back to the Future, as Lexus unveils its highly anticipated Hoverboard project “Slide”. Someone call the Doc!
The carmaker’s fourth “Amazing in Motion” project from CHI&Partners pushes the boundaries features a real life hoverboard. Renowned pro-skateboarder Ross McGouran takes centre-stage in the campaign, which shows him teaching himself to float on the hoverboard across a sequence of increasingly challenging stunts.
The “Slide” film was created by CHI&Partners and shot by award-winning film director Henry-Alex Rubin through Smuggler. The setting is a custom-built hoverpark in Barcelona as Rudimental’s Waiting All Night plays in the background.
CHI&Partners and Lexus began exploring prototypes for a hoverboard more than a year ago, collaborating with a team of scientists specialising in magnetic levitation: IFW Dresden and Evico GmbH. Following months of development and testing, the companies have overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges to create the Lexus Hoverboard, which uses a combination of liquid-nitrogen-cooled super-conductors and permanent magnets to float.
“Both Lexus and CHI&Partners have invested a huge amount of endeavour, determination and courage in this project – and together we’ve overcome enormous production and technical challenges to break new boundaries in science and technology,” says Monty Verdi, Creative Director at CHI&Partners.
The project follows on from summer’s teaser campaign which generated a buzz in the international press (3,500 headlines in two weeks according to the agency) and sparked a worldwide debate on social media. The agency says more than a million people voiced their excitement about the Lexus Hoverboard on social media, driving 590 million online impressions and nine million views in less than a month.
A debate followed about whether the hoverboard was real, while the skating community speculated about which pro-skater the legs in the teaser might belong to. A subsequent Lexus video confirmed suspicions that the rider was in fact McGouran.
So how does it work? The technology features two “cryostats” - reservoirs in which superconducting material is kept at -197 degrees through immersion in liquid nitrogen. The board is then placed above a track that contains permanent magnets. The magnetic field from the track is effectively ‘frozen’ into the superconductors in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and the track—essentially keeping the board hovering. According to scientists at Evico, it is this force that allows the rider to stand and even jump on the board.
“I’ve spent 20 years skateboarding,” says Ross McGouran, “but without friction, it feels like I’ve had to learn a whole new skill, particularly in the stance and balance in order to ride the hoverboard. It’s a whole new experience.”
CHI&Partners CEO Nick Howarth adds: “Not only have CHI&Partners and Lexus collaborated to build an actual hoverboard; ‘SLIDE’ has also taken us far beyond the traditional remits of advertising – bringing together experts in production, PR, content and social media to achieve mass awareness for Lexus through the teaser phase alone.”
Watch the unveiling and making-of films below.
Previous projects in the “Amazing in Motion” campaign included “Steps”, an iconic choreographed stunt using 11-foot tall puppets; “Swarm”, which contained footage of a real swarm of choreographed quadcoptor robots exploring downtown Vancouver; and “Strobe” in which acrobats and stuntmen were suspended from across Kuala Lumpur’s night skyline and lit up in quick succession, to create the illusion of one ‘lightman’s’ acrobatic journey across the sky.
10 August 2015
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