Chevrolet Beaumont on College St. in Toronto

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A Shopping Mall’s Live Drive-Thru Zoom Play (media and marketing case study)

This shopping mall staged an interactive drive-thru play on Zoom, the perfect pandemic era promotional event. It’s a cool media and marketing vignette.

Drive-Thru Murder Mystery on Zoom

“Since the health department allowed drive-ins, OTC created a Zoom ‘Dinner and a Murder’ event. Taking the basic drive-in concept up a notch, its duo of Janet Jerde (director) and Paige Jeschke (marketing manager) collaborated with The Murder Mystery Company of Michigan to develop a script and hired a dozen actors from across the country to perform the whodunit live online, with the intrigue coming to center viewers on-site on a 41-foot screen erected in the parking lot. That’s just part of the hair-raising story.

Guests who had pre-purchased their tickets could roll up to the center and park in front of the screen, order food and drinks from tenants restaurants, and then ease back into their seats, watch the action unfold, and try to solve the murder like investigators on a stakeout. According to OTC’s team, it communicated with the actors via Zoom while those present really got into the event’s theme and actively participated when prompted by honking their horns, flashing their car lights, using their blinkers, and texting the team who they thought had murdered the ‘movie’ victim, millionaire Sal Fie (get it?). The supporting tech gave the guests the impression that they were interacting with the actors directly, even though the OTC team was the intermediary-the performers could actually call out specific cars, incorporate team names that were texted in, and ‘see’ drivers react when they thought one of the suspects wasn’t telling the truth. “

Raymond Williams: ‘Mobile Privatization’

“There is then a unique modern condition, which I defined in an earlier book (Television: technology and cultural form, 1974) as ‘mobile privatization’. It is an ugly phrase for an unprecedented condition. What it means is that at most active social levels people are increasingly living as small-family units, or, disrupting even that, as private and deliberately self-enclosed individuals, while at the same time there is quite unprecedented mobility of such restricted privacies. In my novel Second Generation (1964) I developed the image of modern car traffic to describe this now dominant set of social relations in the old industrial societies. Looked at from right outside, the traffic flows and their regulation are clearly a social order of a determined kind, yet what is experienced inside them -in the conditioned atmosphere and internal music of this windowed shell- is movement, choice of direction, the pursuit of self-determined private purposes. All the other shells are moving, in comparable ways but for their own different private ends. They are not so much other people, in any full sense, but other units which signal and are signalled to, so that private mobilities can proceed safely and relatively unhindered. And if all this is seen from outside as in deep ways determined, or in some sweeping glance as dehumanised, that is not at all how it feels like inside the shell, with people you want to be with, going where you want to go.”

Bonus: Dahlia Lithwick on the Canadian truckers protest

“Many observers have noted that weaponizing trucks as machines of occupation was what was radically new about the Freedom Convoy, and that is partly true. Trucks are not just a signifier of economic realities, but also mobile units in which one can live and move, almost wholly oblivious to the world around you, if you so choose. You can build your own ecosystem, communicate solely with like-minded souls, broadcast your own reality, and emerge only to demand unmasked service in local restaurants and shops.

The enduring lesson of the Ottawa occupation was that such arrangements not only shelter individuals from the genuine suffering that happens all around but can also lead them to an information deficit that confirms any belief.”