Drive-in meets movie premiere: behind the scenes of Amazon Prime's launch for 'Invincible'
Prime Video and Thinkingbox won ‘Open Air Experience of the Year’ at The Drum Awards for Experience with the premiere of Invincible. A pandemic-friendly, innovative merging of movie premiere and drive-in movie night, this launch event was an unforgettable show. Here, the team behind this winning entry explains how it brought it to life.
The iconic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, became the smoldering battleground for an epic fight for the universe during the screening of the hotly awaited animated superhero show, Invincible. The double-episode premiere featured flamethrowers, secret government officials, superheroes, supervillains, and a whole lotta blood…
To debut Robert Kirkman’s animated series Invincible, Prime Video joined forces with Thinkingbox to air the first two episodes of the show in a large-scale experience. The monumental drive-thru was mapped around memorable elements of the show and live performances from Invincible characters. Our strategy aimed to leverage a three-phased approach to generate excitement among the Invincible fandom. We wanted to generate buzz, increase awareness, develop community-building experiences around the launch and shareable content to reach new audience members, and develop ongoing interactions to retain and attract viewers. We did this by creating a drive-thru experience that fully immersed you into the Invincible world.
From initial concepts to detailed refinement, to meticulous design and planning, to the construction, we were able to create the sound, smell, and taste of the Invincible universe bringing the series to life all in 22 days. The live performances were paired with extravagant set builds and pre-recorded content played through guests’ car radios to convey the Invincible Universe in every tiny detail.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted by a smoldering pile of rubble as a newscaster described deadly attacks, symbolizing the entrance of this universe. Guests were immediately stopped and interrogated by the Global Defense Agents to ensure only humans (and not superhumans) were attending; after they passed the test, they could receive top-notch swag. The guests were then guided to the larger-than-life bleeding archway.
Next, guests drove by Art’s Tailor Shoppe, where intense pyrotechnics put Art’s superhero suits to the test. From page to stage, we designed and crafted superhero suits never seen outside of the comic before. But before the suits could be worn by the superheroes themselves, we had to test their capabilities with intense pyrotechnics. We built a fire plinth for the pyrotechnics to house a superhero suit with both plinth and suit made from fireproof materials. Attached was a gas gasket and automatic extinguisher that could be activated in time with the live performance.
After the pyrotechnic show, guests were lifted to safety by Invincible himself. We created a photo op that utilized graphics and visual print to create the illusion that guests’ cars were being lifted and flown by Invincible over the city. This was a big hit; guest images were shared across multiple social media platforms.
Finally, back on safe soil, attendees were also able to order their Invinci-Burger or Omni-Vegan from Burger Mart to enjoy during the premiere -- the fuel of literal superheroes. All this before the show had even started. Guests parked their cars and were able to view the screening using a high-definition projector that front projected the double-episode premiere onto a 52ft x 26ft screen for maximum visibility and impact. During the pre-show, the screen played exclusive interviews with Steven Yeun, J.K. Simmons, Zazie Beetz, Gillian Jacobs, and Robert Kirkman, who virtually joined. Once the episode began, the 4D experience kicked up a gear.
We took the opportunity to get a little blood on our hands and kick the 4D experience up a notch. Cars in the “splash zone” were treated to a gory surprise as deadly moments in the show were emphasized with blood-red liquid spurts spraying from hidden water canons. The “splash zone” was created by refracting red light onto the water for an effective and eco-friendly solution.
The epic event spanned two nights, many liters of “blood”, and offered guests a memorable and tangible entry into the Invincible Universe. Launching the best superhero show in the universe in only 3 weeks yielded a flurry of press. We received the green light on the production the first week of March and fully brought this to life by the end of March. Both nights of the free screening, which required reservations, sold out within 30 minutes. In attendance were die-hard Invincible fans mixed with families who were enjoying a safe night out. We had a total of 252 cars in attendance, with 2-4 people in each vehicle. Receiving a total of 14,200 impressions and a reach of 32,700 on Instagram and Facebook, superhero premieres may never look the same, and that’s fine by us.
This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Experience. To find out more, including which competitions are currently open for entry, visit The Drum Awards website.
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