On a towering screen just above the bustle of London’s famous Piccadilly Circus, a Formula 1® race car bursts through a window into someone’s living room, scattering red pillows over the crowd before performing a near-impossible 180-degree turn. The rear tires squeal and spill over the edge and out of the billboard, appearing for a moment as if the car will tumble into the street—then it rushes back into action.
The larger-than-life curved billboard helps bring the immersive, unparalleled action of real Formula 1 to the Piccadilly pedestrians. Lenovo endeavored to make this visceral experience almost a reality—if not the thrill of the race, then at least a moment of jaw-dropping spectacle on Europe’s largest advertising screen.
“Using the iconic Formula 1 car bursting into someone’s living room allowed us to emphasize the role that Lenovo technology plays in helping Formula 1 bring the sport to everyone’s homes,” said Philip Marchington, executive creative director at Lenovo.
The possibility for the full screen domination in Piccadilly drives such impact in a super-high traffic area of London, close to the shopping districts of Regent Street and Oxford Street and the Theatre district around Covent Garden and Leicester Square.
Lenovo’s partnership with Formula 1 goes much deeper than billboards. Lenovo server, storage, edge, and device solutions help Formula 1 teams capture and process millions of data points generated by every car and every race, week after week, for over 40 weeks every year. The dense data is then transformed into actionable insights. Lenovo solutions also power the Formula 1 Media & Technology Centre, where their broadcasting team receives and transforms all that track-generated data, in real time, into an exhilarating experience for hundreds of millions of fans watching from their homes.
“Lenovo technology is at the heart of making fans feel like they’re right there in the center of the action,” Marchington said. “We wanted to take this fact and demonstrate it in a very unexpected and immersive way. Enter the third dimension.”
Piccadilly Lights has a resolution 1.4x greater than 4K with a 783.5m2 screen, elegantly curved around the contours of a building. Filling that space—and going beyond it—offered a rare opportunity for the creative teams.
Lenovo’s worldwide brand team developed the creative concept. Production partners Grand Visual and Ocean Billboard transformed the concept into a 3D reality, working closely with the Lenovo Formula 1 sponsorship team and the Formula 1 team.
“There were doubts at the start whether we could deliver the 3D Billboard in less than half the time it usually takes to deliver a 3D Billboard,” said Alberto Spinelli, chief marketing officer of EMEA at Lenovo. “Thankfully we partnered with some hugely talented folks. Even though many of us were working with each other for the very first time, coming together as a virtual team from about 10 different locations around the world, the strong drive, ambition, and collaboration both from the Lenovo and the partner teams helped us deliver against all odds.”
“The response to the billboard has been nothing short of overwhelming,” Spinelli said. “Onlookers seem stunned by the novelty of the 3D technology and can’t help but stop, stare, and then snap a video with their phone.”