Vodafone’s blind drift race stunt goes global

Last year, Vodafone and FCB set out with an experiment that saw Red Bull driver Mad Mike whiz around a race track in a blacked out car, surviving only by the grace of Vodafone’s 4G network. Now, the ad has been recreated in seven different countries around the world, including one that puts actor Patrick Dempsey in the driving seat. 

The original video showed Mad Mike seated in a car with the windows completely blacked out. His only vision of the outside world came from four tablets fixed to the inside of the windscreen, with the streams fed to the tablets coming from four smartphones attached to the roof of the car. And to show that Vodafone really backed its product, the telco put the director of its 4G network, Tony Baird, into the passenger seat.

The crazy stunt has now been recreated globally, with Vodafone networks in Australia, Romania, Qatar and Italy getting in on the fast and furious action. The videos all follow the same format as the drivers navigate their way through a track with a Vodafone representative in the passenger seat. 

In Australia’s version of the ad, V8 racing champion Mark Skaife drives a BMW M6 through Victoria’s Calder Park Thunderdome, while in Romania’s take on the video, rally pilot Titi Aur steps up to the challenge. Qatar’s version makes use of the country’s unique terrain, enlisting Dakar Rally driver Mohamed Abuissa to navigate the tilting sand dunes in a blacked-out buggy. 

In Vodafone Italy’s recreation, the telco brings in some Hollywood flavour by getting Grey’s Anatomy star and professional-amateur race car driver Patrick Dempsey to whiz around a track.

This isn’t the first time Vodafone and FCB have had international admirers. The telco’s infamous Piggy Sue advert was recreated in Ireland in 2015, and instead of featuring Keith and rural New Zealand, the Irish spot featured a driver named Donal cruising along country’s scenic hills. 

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