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In anticipation of the roll-out of the world’s first Porsche four-seat sports car, Porsche and Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago tapped Fi to help create and bring to life a website as part of the U.S. Panamera launch campaign. (This would be the second time that Fi would have the opportunity to work with Porsche following its contributions to the FWA-winning Porsche Bloodlines microsite in January 2008.)
The Panamera evolved from more than 60 years of Porsche history, an extension of the Porsche DNA, and the website would serve as a central platform to tell this story, providing a destination for Porsche fans to share their own stories and experiences. The effort is part of the fully integrated “Welcome to the Family” launch campaign including print, television, mobile, direct mail, dealer materials, online ads and website takeovers, as well as an IFC documentary.
Fi’s first task was to define the project in as much detail as possible. A war room was setup in the Fi offices. Early brainstorming sessions took place, concepts were sketched out, interactions stepped through and technical documentation drafted. These documents were then translated into detailed wireframes to present to the C-K/Porsche team. Upon agreement from C-K/Porsche on the direction, timelines were fine-tuned, milestones locked in and design and development initiated.
From an early stage it was decided that the individual cars would be modeled in 3D. This would provide a flexible and interactive format to showcase the models.
One of the more challenging design tasks was to create a different environment for each of the main models. Scenes were designed from a blank canvas to ensure each were unique and appealed to the individual vehicle characteristics.
Another challenge was the execution of the Porsche Family Tree so the placement of stories on the tree was contextual. Fi developed a system to place these stories dependant on variables such as geographic location and time, and so they looked as though they were added to the tree as if it were growing organically.
Fi’s designers challenged the norm for forms and data collection. The objective was to make forms interesting, fun and easily accessible to keep the barrier to entry as low as possible.
Fi developed the site in Flash 10 and used the Gaia Framework as a foundation. Users are able to create and edit their content, upload images and videos without a registration process. This was achieved through the use of server sessions and a SharedObject solution, attempting to reduce drop-off rates that are often the result of a long registration process.
A custom built backend was created to provide functionality for storing user generated stories and media content. The family tree shows several hundred stories with thumbnails that the user can search and filter. In order to make this view responsive Fi made sure to minimize the server response size by using the binary Flash message format, AMF, and used a PHP implementation of the open source Lucene search engine. The family tree images were pushed to a Content Delivery Network spread across multiple domain aliases, providing faster download speeds and increasing overall site performance.
The large amount of video available on the site and the high demands on quality required all of Fi’s experience and expertise. Fi’s own proprietary transcoding engine ‘Kivatra’ was integrated to effectively convert uploaded images and videos to a uniform format and add letterboxing to videos to fit the defined aspect ratio.
Overall, the website delivered high-resolution video, 3D modeling, a unique UGC component and interactive content, all integrated seamlessly with the broader “Welcome to the Family” campaign. Site analytics were incorporated across the site to allow performance to be measured and optimized throughout the course of the campaign. Content management systems and RSS feeds were implemented to ensure a constant refresh of the latest content and Panamera news. The Panamera project has been a great success for all of us here at Fi picking up an FWA on November 9th, 2009, Peoples choice at the Webbys and now the best interactive of the year by Commarts. This multi-award winning project has given Porsche a digital experience that is truly reflective if its brand, heritage and products.
A collection of components from Porsche Panamera
September 10, 2009
- Flash 10
- Actionscript 3
- Gaia Flash Framework
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