Digiday Awards Winner’s Circle: Behind the ‘Lexus RC Real Time Build’

Digiday’s awards honor the best work across media and marketing. Winner’s Circle is a series that shines the spotlight on Digiday Awards winners: After the ceremony is over and all the champagne is gone, we ask the winners a few questions about the campaign that won them their top honor.

Team One and Lexus won ‘Best Live Moment’ at the 2018 Digiday Video Awards for “Lexus RC Real Time Live Build,” a 10-hour live stream that allowed viewers to vote on vehicle modifications for a Lexus RC 350 F Sport as a team of experienced mechanics made them come to life in real-time. This live event reached over 5.2 million people across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We took some time to chat with Meredith Gruen, group account director, and John Dohrmann, creative director, of Team One about this event.

Tell us more about the process behind coming up with the concept for this event. How did you decide to go live?
In partnership with Lexus, we had been experimenting with various ways to engage an enthusiast fan base. Over the past few years, we had brought fans into different aspects of the custom build process, and we quickly learned that they were passionate about the chance to have their voices heard. With the launch of Facebook Live, we had the opportunity to take this idea to the next level — acting on that fan input in real-time, right before their eyes.

Compelling live content needs a reason to be live — something that goes beyond what you could deliver with pre-recorded video. In this case, the real-time fan input on customizations along the way and the suspense of completing the build in time provided engaging reasons for fans to tune in and participate.

There are a lot of moving parts involved in a live moment like this. Tell us what that day looked like for Team One.
Even though the campaign was live, it didn’t come together on-the-fly. There was a lot of preparation that went into getting us ready for that day, including a detailed run-of-show for the full 10 hours and plenty of contingency planning just in case things didn’t go as expected. We rehearsed anything that we could in advance so we would be ready to execute when it was time to go live.

The day itself was all-hands-on-deck for Team One, Lexus and all of our partners that made the custom build possible. In addition to everything that went into what viewers saw live, we had team members behind-the-scenes monitoring social feeds to tally fan votes and feed questions to our on-camera host. We were carefully watching the clock while executing — and in some cases editing — our run-of-show plans as everything unfolded in real-time.

What were some of the challenges the team had to overcome, either in the planning or execution phases of the live stream?
Anytime you’re working with a new platform to do something that hasn’t been done before, there are bound to be a few challenges along the way. We worked closely with Facebook on a strategy to string together live feeds while minimizing disruption for viewers since our 10-hour live stream went beyond the Facebook Live continuous streaming limit. Without a native voting option available at that time, we had a dedicated team tallying votes by hand as engaged fans commented in support of their favorite custom options.

In terms of planning, since we were putting the customization choices in the hands of our fans, we had to be prepared for any possible outcome. With that in mind, we needed to carefully orchestrate plans with our custom partners to give fans the most exciting options while also making sure it would all come together live.

What has the success of this live event meant for Team One as a company?
In our work with Lexus, we are always looking for new opportunities to bring creativity together with media and technology to deliver amazing experiences. In this case, it was inviting fans to help us customize a Lexus RC live in less than 10 hours. The success of the event demonstrated the impact of the test-and-learn approach that we continue to practice in pursuit of the next innovation at Team One.

Learn more about our awards programs here.

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