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Happy Finish creates innovative Virtual Drive experience for Tata Motors

CASE STUDY // Mumbai, India

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Image Courtesy of Happy Finish India
Image Courtesy of Happy Finish India
Leverages seamless integration between Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya and Mudbox

In 2015, Tata Motors signed up Lionel Messi as its global brand ambassador and rolled out the successful #madeofgreat campaign in India.

Happy Finish India was commissioned to bring the campaign to life, creating India’s first virtual drive experience for the Tiago car launch. The campaign authenticated Tata Motors’ dedication to pioneering cutting-edge experiences to connect with young, forward-thinking consumers.

Happy Finish is a global creative production studio and agency offering 360 cross-platform production services and world-class immersive content experiences for leading brands, advertising agencies, and photographers. With studios across three continents in London, Portland, Shanghai, and Mumbai, we offer Stills Retouching, CGI, Motion Production & Post, CG Animation, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Creative Direction and Consultancy.

In the highly competitive Indian automotive sector, differentiating a product during launch means catching as many eyes in as little time as possible. By leveraging the target audience’s affinity for mobile devices, the objective was to get consumers engaged with a mobile-first innovation. Tata Motors looked to Happy Finish as the preferred VR content creator for the launch of the Tiago car with the brief: Let’s make people experience a test drive, no matter where they are.

Happy Finish

Happy Finish

360° Approach

With a keen focus on the distribution channel, Happy Finish created a solution, which enabled Tata to leverage the power of mobile, producing engaging content via an easy to use app, available on both Android and iOS. The idea was to synergise paid media (YouTube/ Print) to push owned media (Apps) and achieve earned media (Social). The goal was to create an immersive experience, which Tata Motors could use to differentiate the launch of the new car and show strong brand association with Lionel Messi.

The idea was to showcase the car in a live-action environment by packaging the experience for mass mobile distribution and to demonstrate innovation and leadership while generating orders for the new car. The video content was envisioned as a complete 360-degree experience of the car, with the features of Tiago being called out, both inside and outside the new car. "The challenge was how do we bring alive the test drive experience of a car which is yet to be launched. We felt that creating a VR experience would be the best idea and were delighted to partner with Happy Finish to introduce India’s first live action Virtual Drive experience. The reach has been phenomenal with great ROI and has been appreciated as one of the most innovative ideas from Tata Motors for consumer experience," says Delna Avari, Head of Marketing Communication & Services Tata Motors.

Happy Finish India
Image Courtesy of Happy Finish India

The Experience

The virtual experience begins by immersing the viewer in a CG stadium before moving to a comprehensive exterior and interior view of the Tiago traveling on the road, which was shot in live- action. The features of the car are narrated and shown in the equirectangular space to create a complete sensory package for viewers. This unique combination of 360 degrees CG with integrated live-action is the first of it’s kind in India. "In India’s emerging virtual reality market, delivering a world- class experience meant working with the best. The Tata Motors Marketing Campaign and Happy Finish made the leap through stellar #madeofgreat cooperation," adds Ashish Limaye, CEO - APAC, Happy Finish.

The solution was developed by Happy Finish India and the UK in under 3 months. Shot on location at Tata’s beautiful Lake House in Pune, with post-production in the UK and app development in India, the project was truly a global endeavor. The apps created showcased India’s first Virtual Drive experience, a one- of-a-kind exploration of Tiago’s innovative & fresh design language with cutting edge driving dynamics. It is experienced either in standard (handheld) mode or combined with the ‘Tiago Virtual Drive Gear’ in the headset mode.

"The ability to seamlessly move data between any of the Entertainment Creation Suite packages effortlessly at the click of a button enables us to do the tasks rapidly and that too while retaining the same navigation shortcuts across all apps. All in all, it's a wonderful set of packages that make one important part of our production pipeline."

—Ashish Limaye, CEO – APAC, Happy Finish



Through the Virtual Drive, Tata Motors created a marketing experience that could be used across the spectrum in a cost-effective way. This was accentuated by the excitement around VR and the technology leveraged with this campaign. From Auto Expo 2016 to dealerships around India, to even the homes and hands of Indian consumers, the Virtual Drive made the test drive experience accessible to the masses. To top it off, measurable analytics in the app and distribution channel gave quantifiable metrics and ROI results.

Talking about the production pipeline at Happy Finish Ashish says, “Right from the onset, we have used Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya interchangeably, to convert numerous CAD formats that we get from automotive clients, without the need of any external software, and get the data in the desired format for us to enable to start our Lighting and Shading work on it. On many occasions, we also use 3ds Max to create CG backgrounds where no appropriate backplate can be located to be used for a particular car angle rendering. We use Autodesk Mudbox to add various detailed texture elements which do not make it to us in the clients cad or artwork, like stitches and model details like organic regions of a vehicle like Seats, Upholstery etc.”

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