Nautilus: Nautilus Lights Up Guangzhou


Campaign Summary

To promote its new China-manufactured luxury SUV, the Nautilus, Lincoln created the world's largest 3D digital projection along Guangzhou's Pearl River, harnessing a constellation of 1,000 drones in a light show which went viral on social media.



For a challenger brand in the automotive market like Lincoln, ensuring the launch of its new China-manufactured luxury SUV, the Nautilus, against larger competitors was going to be a challenge.

Target Audience:

Lincoln needed a solution that clearly showcased the Nautilus brand story and would capture the attention of affluent and influential consumers, despite a comparatively small marketing budget against other automotive brands. Lincoln sought to drive pre-orders for the newly launched, domestically produced Nautilus.

Creative Strategy:

Coinciding with the launch of the domestically produced Nautilus was the annual A-Class Auto Show in Guangzhou in November 2020, China's biggest auto event. The automotive industry focuses its attention on the models of cars announced during this event, as do prospective buyers looking for the most innovative cars on the market.

Tapping into this, Lincoln wanted to find a way to tell the story of the Nautilus (its power, its technology, and its luxury) in an innovative way at the Guangzhou Auto Show that would help it stand out amongst a sea of sameness.


The automobile category in China is perhaps the most competitive, cluttered sea of similarity that exists in media, with many brands offering similar claims, marketing models, and nameplates. China was also not lacking in luxury SUVs, with seven other competitors already in the market. 


Overall Campaign Execution:

The brand created the world's largest naked-eye 3D digital projection ever on Guangzhou's landmark buildings along the Pearl River. Every building as far as the eye could see announced the arrival of the Nautilus.

Next, to connect the Nautilus with its navigation history, the 3D projection was combined with an industry-first drone constellation that harnessed 1,000 drones over Guangzhou to form a 3D matrix of the Nautilus, flying over 1km up along the Pearl River, ending at the world-famous Canton Tower, which was lit up with video showcasing the Nautilus.

Beyond the initial success securing the Chinese government's approval to use multiple landmark buildings in the heart of Guangzhou, Lincoln also succeeded in ensuring that these giant outdoor advertising displays worked in sync, similar to actors on a stage, correctly aligning their timing, rhythm, and creative concept.

Mobile Execution:

The light show was seeded on Weibo, one of China's key social platforms, where it became an instant hot topic nationwide. In addition, the innovative light show was shared by four of China's top key opinion leaders (KOLs).

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Thanks to this campaign, Lincoln increased brand consideration by 16 percent, building an all-time high brand familiarity of 86 percent.

The Nautilus launch was a key driving factor behind the 17 percent uplift in the Nautilus' daily pre-orders, with over 3,000 pre-sale orders within one month, becoming the best-selling model in Lincoln's history.

Furthermore, the Nautilus light show became an instant hot topic on Weibo, where it trended with over 450 million impressions and 47,000 discussions. Sharing from KOLs helped generate a further 30 million impressions of the light show.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Connected Devices/The Internet of Things, Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH), Innovation | Awards: X Finalist, X Gold Winner, X Silver Winner