INFINITI installation | Communication Arts

Responses by Erick Rosa, chief creative officer, Publicis Groupe Japan; and Nishant Shah, global creative director, Publicis Q Japan.

Background: INFINITI is crafted for the discerning, those with an appetite for art and design. So, when we learned about its luxury SUV QX60’s multifarious paint color that changes with light—called Moonbow Blue—we shot for the moon. An immersive experience, Project Moonshot is in equal parts about INFINITI’s design craft and Japan’s natural environment that continues to inspire the nation’s artistic heritage. It goes beyond a car dealership’s call of duty and invites people into a new realm of possibilities through data, design and technology.

Design thinking: 78.6 percent of cars in the world are black, white or gray. Moonbow Blue is a disruptive innovation in the automotive space, while its eponymous, elusive inspiration is a rare natural phenomenon that most of humankind will never experience in their lifetime.

Challenges: There’s a reason we decided to call the project ‘moonshot’; we faced challenges at every step. The most trying phase was data collection: to stay true to the moonbow, we needed data from the moon, sun and starlight—all the elements that make this colorful aberration possible. We set out to find open-source data partners, and millions of years’ worth of notations to design a truly dynamic experience. Online data science community Kaggle, NASA Earth Observatory and NOAA all had unsequestered data that needed to be organized before we could use it. This took months of work alongside director Ferdi Alıcı’s team at Istanbul-based new media studio Ouchhh Studio, translating scrolls of information into sixteen ever-evolving data sculptures emulating nature’s marvel.

Favorite details: While we’re proud of what we’ve achieved, Project Moonshot has been single-handedly the most humbling experience for all of us. It exposed us to the power of nature, data, design technology and the combination of it all. To re-create a rare phenomenon was never going to be easy, but the undying spirit of a passionate team is certainly a matter of pride.

These data sculptures will travel far and wide, sparking curiosity in the minds of discerning consumers and helping them appreciate automotive design in a new light. This is an ode to INFINITI’s design team that put in countless numbers of hours in developing a color that inspired us to tell this story.

New lessons: Project Moonshot is a never-ending voyage into the cosmos, and it continues to give in the form of learnings about things we know, and things we still don’t. As creatives, data has long been shelved to the back-end of our decisions. But we as a collective learned the power of fusing data into our ideation process: A simple insight about the number of black and white cars. Learning about the chemical composition of a pigment. Sourcing and understanding atmospheric data notations. Big or small, every data point is a creative node: including data insights in a creative brief is a practice we will continue to explore.

Finally, this project has served as a refreshing reminder that some of the best brand stories are often hidden in a simple product truth.

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