Y&R’s Jaguar VR stunt packed a reality punch

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The recent Big Boys Toys was the venue for a startling stunt, pulled off with aplomb by Y&R for Jaguar NZ. The idea was to tell participants they were taking part in a virtual reality stunt – but the reality was very different.

This reality was a real drive at great speed, with head gear to mimic a virtual reality setup.

All of the interviewees were members of the public (some won a Jaguar Facebook competition to attend, others were picked from the expo crowd).

“The reactions you see are completely real,” says Y&R CD Guy Denniston . “We were hoping that at least one or two people would be fooled but everyone fell for it.

“In their defence, they had every reason to believe it was real and weren’t given enough time to really scrutinise everything.

“The driver was Andrew Waite, a professional race driver/precision driver. His life seems like far too much fun.”

How it played out:
“We met each of the passengers as they came through the expo’s front gates, to ensure they hadn’t seen the previous ride,” Denniston says.

“The car was on a raised hydraulic platform that we said was a 6-axis simulator (which, if real, would make it pitch, roll, yaw, move laterally, vertically and longitudinally). The top of our platform had a turntable which meant we could have the car facing sideways to the crowd, with seemingly no place to go.

“Once the passengers were inside and helmeted (and distracted with our tailored pre-ride video) the back of the stand would open up, the car would drop and rotate to face the arena, the driver would get in and smoothly roll the car across our purpose-built bridge to the track.

“Each step of the transition to the track was choreographed to match the pre-ride video, so there was an in-video reason for the slight bumps and wobbles they felt.

“The driver had an audio feed to the video so, once on track, he could hear the cue to remotely switch from the video to the hidden helmet camera’s live feed. This was overlaid with a videogame-style HUD that was on an animated loop to help make it feel pre-recorded (we figured no one would have time to really notice the fake G-metre wasn’t corresponding to the actual movement).

“The other thing we had to consider was if they looked down and saw themselves or raise their hands in front of the camera. If it were a real 360 degree VR video, they shouldn’t be able to see themselves. So, we fitted them with a neck brace that forced them to look straight ahead and told them to grip the door handle and seat belt to keep their hands out of sight.

“We were pretty confident the passenger wouldn’t have time to pick that up during the ride, but ever-vigilant commentators on facebook and youtube would, so that was done for their benefit.

“We brought the passengers back to the stand while playing another post-ride video and then interviewed them to get their natural responses to the ride before revealing what really happened.”


Client: Jaguar New Zealand
General Manager: Steve Ketchington
Marketing Manager: James McKee
Agency: Y&R New Zealand
CEO / CCO: Josh Moore
Creative Director: Guy Denniston
Creative Director: Gavin Siakimotu
Creative team: Gavin Siakimotu, Guy Denniston
Head of Planning: Jono Key
Account Director: Victoria Meo
Senior Account Manager: Melanie Cutfield, Mike Keen
Agency Producer: Liz Rosby
Motion Graphics: Amanda Sasano
Film company: 8Com
Director: Michael Humphrey
Executive Producer: Katie Millington
Producer: Gene Keelan
Editor: Jarrod Wright
Audio: Liquid Studios
Post production: Toybox
Props: Gyro

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