Hailed as one of the earliest motorsport pioneers, Shell’s winning partnerships on the track form part of its rich heritage. Little wonder then that the Shell NASCAR team has always been considered the jewel in the crown for Shell and its sponsors, with millions of dollars of “year on year” investments enabling the global energy giant to become the one of largest and most successful sponsors in the history of the sport to date.
So it goes without saying that anything involving or associated with the team’s branding is executed to the highest standard, pushing innovation as far as possible. Shell lives by the mantra that “If it isn’t the leading brand in the NASCAR world, then isn’t in first position!”, clearly setting the benchmark for anyone tasked with the challenge.
The added complexity of a global pandemic brought an entirely different dimension; but not even Covid-19 could put the brakes on NASCAR races. Despite worldwide travel bans and changes to the events industries all over the world, the consensus was that races would continue to take place. However, important Shell stakeholders, Shell employees and other key brand investors would be unable to attend races, or feel part of a world which they’d helped create. Hugely influential people would be unable to see where their investments had gone, severely impacting their return on investment.
That’s when Gravit8 was asked to step onto the podium to partner on a project which would provide a solution. It needed to come up with a way to bring all the thrills and spills of NASCAR to its VIP audience. Simple, right?
With so many exciting live elements to NASCAR racing, Gravit8 designed and created a purpose built, brand new Virtual Event Platform for Shell’s key stakeholders; not only one that they would get to attend but also feel very much an integral part of. It had to offer a natural experience with simple navigation, enabling investors and key stakeholders to easily access the most up to date live data, content, and driver feedback, all available at their fingertips.
From a design element, the platform also had to be engineered in a way that delivered all the drama, excitement and emotion from one of the most hectic pit lanes in the world, directly to the stakeholders sat in the comfort of their own armchair.
Recognising the idyllic location of the Daytona 500 raceway, Gravit8 suggested the construction of a fully immersive 3D Daytona 500 pit lane for stakeholders to login to and feel genuinely engaged in.
In close collaboration with Shell, by working with the iconic track’s layout, Team Gravit8 were able to recreate a version of the surroundings to place stakeholders in the centre of a fully immersive, living and breathing 3D environment – one that would be instantly recognisable from any of the 12 viewpoints in the platform.
This involved Gravit8 watching countless NASCAR races to study driver personalities and behaviours to ensure it captured the authenticity of the pit lane environment. Many real world images were also taken such as the track architecture, general layout and items in it so the team at Gravit8 could truly grasp the dynamics of how the real world events unfolded.
The storyboards helped piece together a plan view to assist in the platform’s design and build in order to match exactly with Shell’s specific brief.
New graphics and hotspots were also created to perfectly represent a wide range of Shell content, and help bring in features including viewable brochures, web links, AR, QR, streaming, media playback, and even photo booth technology into a virtual pit lane.
Donna Vecino, Experiential Project Manager – Creative Solutions Americas, summed it up: “All the team at Gravit8 were great to work with! They created an incredible virtual environment for us and delivered a truly unique virtual brand experience. We are so impressed with the creative graphics their team produced, and have appreciated how flexible they have been, making sure to communicate everything along the process in a way that was easy to understand. It was truly a collaborative effort with their team and we are so pleased with the end result!”