After Vans made Grammy-winning artist Anderson .Paak their first global music ambassador, they wanted an event experience in LA to create buzz around his new collection, which featured products named after and inspired by his first two albums, Venice and Malibu.
Then the pandemic happened. Luckily, we drew inspiration from Anderson .Paak’s love of classic cars and shifted gears quickly—pun unfortunately very much intended—to craft an experience that would provide a unique look at the collection and tell the story behind the collaboration in a responsible, socially-distanced way.
Enter the Vans Anderson .Paak Car Wash, an audio-visual, real-world-meets-virtual car wash experience where visitors immersed themselves in the collection without ever having to leave their vehicle—all ending with the drop of his brand new single!
To build excitement, we created a car-themed seeding kit inspired by Anderson .Paak’s classic Impala. Sent to a who’s who list of celebrities, each featured products from the new collection, a personalized license plate and — of course — custom ocean-scented air fresheners to hang from the rearview. 🌴
Guests and select members of the press received invites where they could RSVP for a showtime on event day. Upon arrival, guests were checked in and informed on what to expect and how to be safe. While they waited in their cars, masked and gloved event staff in custom YES LAWD! coveralls (AP’s signature phrase) offered a light windshield cleaning and tire dressing.
When it was time, each vehicle entered our crazy, abstract notion of a car wash featuring numerous details and effects throughout, from projected effects and lighting to bubbles and suds.
Once cars parked, we used the inherent architecture of the space, multiple 27'x15' foot screens and a giant replica of one of the new shoes as canvases to project an immersive, 180 degree diorama-meets-collage story that .Paak told in his own words. As he gave unique insight into the design process of the shoe and his collaboration with Vans, guests could enjoy the show in complete safety with their windows rolled up by tuning into our temporary FM radio station.
Anderson .Paak closed the show by surprising everyone with the drop of his new single and music video, Jewelz, which featured the collection. But what guests thought was strictly an immersive audiovisual experience soon became more real as dancers poured out of the stage in choreography that was perfectly in sync with was happening onscreen. They flipped, scrubbed, and breakdanced their way around each vehicle so that every passenger got a show. In the grand finale, the giant shoe replica turned out to be a shoe car, rolling out onto center stage to give our guest a proper sendoff.
As they left, they would drive by our car wash “gift shop” next to Anderson .Paak’s Impala to pick up some free swag — in a socially distanced manner of course.
Pulling off an in-person event in a pandemic presented unique challenges, but the entire event was planned with coronavirus in mind. All staff was required to provide a negative COVID test before arrival and receive daily temperature checks at a check-in station, while an on-site COVID Compliance Officer enforced capacity limits and sanitized surfaces throughout the day.
We achieved everything we set out to do—and beyond! There were well over 30 million impressions on social alone with hype from celebrities such as Big Sean and The Game. Millions more in earned media impressions with features on most major sneaker rags including Hypebeast, Sole Collector, Sneakerfreaker, and Kicks on Fire. And last but certainly not least, the collection flying off the shelves.
We were proud to be among the first to pull off a responsible, COVID-safe event during the pandemic and huge kudos to Vans and Anderson .Paak for being courageous enough to believe it could be done.