Lexus RX’s touch screen touchdown at airport

'Look, but don't touch' is usually the mantra when car companies drop new vehicles in places like airports, typically surrounded by velvet rope barriers for passersby to salivate over from afar. Toronto-based Dentsu Canada's mantra was the complete opposite when it placed an innovative pilot project installation featuring the new 2010 Lexus RX at Pearson International Airport, encouraging travellers to both look and touch.

‘Look, but don’t touch’ is usually the mantra when car companies drop new vehicles in places like airports, typically surrounded by velvet rope barriers for passersby to salivate over from afar. Toronto-based Dentsu Canada’s mantra was the complete opposite when it placed an innovative pilot project installation featuring the new 2010 Lexus RX at Pearson International Airport, encouraging travellers to both look and touch.

The installation, which first appeared at the bottom of the escalators in Terminal 1 in February, was built around the idea that Lexus introduced the luxury crossover category with the first RX over 10 years ago. So, under the tagline, ‘Reinventing the vehicle that invented it all,’ the RX was surrounded by touch screens that allowed passersby to touch, feel and interact with its advanced features, engaging an elusive target in a place where they actually have some downtime. Conceptual sketches of the vehicle’s key features provided the backdrop. And to take the notion of reinvention even further, Dentsu made the vehicle itself interactive, turning one of its windows into a touch screen, a first in Canada.

‘We didn’t want to just drop a car into an airport,’ explains Stephen Kiely, account supervisor at Dentsu. ‘Other manufacturers have done that. We’re Lexus, we’re advanced and we wanted to take it to a whole new level.’

To facilitate the technology, the agency worked with Toronto-based Gridcast, who set up a 3M-developed, high-contrast rear-projection film adhesive inside the RX in order to make the touch screen appear on the vehicle’s window. Over a six-week period, the installation garnered over 64,000 interactions, and during its 13-week stint at the airport it was seen by over 1.3 million people.