Come Along on Acura's Electrifying Ride Through Sundance '23

What's brewing in the Energy Lab?

How do those Katie Perry lyrics go? You know the ones: "you're electric right now, you've got the power now!" They’re certainly not lost on Acura. This year marks its 13th as official vehicle and presenting sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. 

Along with the return of the Acura Festival Village, 2023 sees the nameplate launch its Energy Lab, which features interactive art to help attendees experience a fresh brand campaign, "New World. Same Energy" (developed with MullenLowe), as the carmaker moves toward an all-electric future.

After two years of virtual sponsorship, Acura decided it was time for a bigger platform at Sundance. An expanded presence translates into more programming that emphasizes its mission, with interviews, panels and premieres, as well as a taste of the Acura Multiverse depicted in ads.

Meliza Humphrey, senior marketing manager at Acura, gave us the lowdown on the carmaker's plans to target new audiences on the road to carbon neutrality.

MUSE: Can you talk about Sundance’s importance for the brand—what are your ultimate goals?

MELIZA HUMPHREY: Sundance provides a platform for Acura to engage with a younger, diverse audience, and is a direct touchpoint to introduce next-gen premium buyers and new customers to our lineup of performance vehicles. We also love that year after year we are able to partner with like-minded organizations that share our values of reaching diverse audiences.

Why did you create the Energy Lab and what is it, exactly?

The lab adds to our Sundance footprint, offering interactive activities for festival-goers to help them experience our full lineup of performance vehicles. The space is new, created specifically for 2023, bringing our recent "New World. Same Energy." marketing to life. It puts guests in the virtual driver’s seat of our performance lineup with photo ops, galleries and an interactive installation from Mattaniah Aytenfsu. She is a viral design engineer who mixes art with technology and a performance driver in the campaign.

Why is Sundance the best place to create buzz around such efforts?

The high-energy storytelling component of our campaign will resonate with the creative community at the festival. Acura has had a long-standing relationship with the Sundance community, which enables us to integrate creative that is entertaining, like we did last year with "Chiaki's Journey" [Acura's first anime series] and now, "New World. Same Energy." So, the tie with the Sundance audience just makes sense for Acura.

Speaking of creative, can you talk about how you are building storytelling? You've brought back the anime character Chiaki from the 2022 festival.

That’s right! Chiaki makes a cameo in our new campaign, and gives viewers a glimpse of the upcoming Acura Integra Type S. Just like fans saw with last year's "Chiaki’s Journey" that debuted during Sundance, you will see us continue to leverage the performance heritage of the Acura brand, but also lean more into pop culture moments to target newer audiences. For the new campaign, Acura has joined the multiverse phenomenon, which is an ideal way to tell the story of each vehicle in our line-up and to introduce consumers to our new world of electrification.

Can you speak to this new campaign and the Energy Lab as contributing to the vow of Acura parent Honda to achieve carbon neutrality?

"New World. Same Energy." is about the fun our customers experience behind the wheel of our products. As Acura moves toward our all-electric future, we want our current customers and next-generation buyers to know that we are taking on this new world with electrified offerings they will love to drive. We are giving viewers a first look at the all-electric Acura Precision EV Concept that previews the styling of our first EV, the zero-emissions 2024 Acura ZDX and ZDX Type S, while showcasing that Acura is committed to putting the driver experience first.

Who is your favorite musical guest or filmmaker featured at the Acura Festival Village or the Energy Lab?

I'm most excited for R&B Pop duo Emotional Oranges, who we tapped to headline the Acura Energy Stage. They are heading to Park City fresh off of their latest album release. I'm also looking forward to hearing what Adrian Quesada has in store for us.

What are you most looking forward to at the festival?

Our programming! As a challenger brand, it’s important to showcase our strong commitment to supporting emerging artists of all kinds, especially independent filmmakers and underrepresented voices. We look forward to offering a robust lineup of programming that emphasizes our mission. And by partnering with organizations and nonprofits like the NAACP, Latinx House, Outfest, Prime Video/IMDb and the Latino Filmmakers Network, we are demonstrating this commitment.

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