No one likes sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. It's incredibly frustrating. No matter what you do, it's hard to keep calm when you're in that situation. Even if you have a souped up sports utility vehicle with all the bells and whistles to keep you comfortable, connected and entertained, sitting in traffic is still no fun. Of course, there are ways we all try to get around it. There are applications like Waze that many of us often use to try to avoid the traffic. But sometimes you simply can't escape the traffic congestion. If you come across a big accident on the highway, for example, there's no way out. But what if your vehicle could transform in a major way to get you out of the mess? That's exactly what one SUV called the Hum Rider can do.
Marketing Ploy for Hum by Verizon
The viral marketing agency Thinkmodo came up with the concept to help promote Hum by Verizon. Hum consists of a dongle that plugs into the ODB-II port of any vehicle made after 1996, a Bluetooth-enabled speaker/control unit that clips to your vehicle’s sun visor, a USB charging cable for the speaker with a cigarette lighter adapter and an app for your smartphone. Verizon says it helps make your car smarter, safer and more connected. Through the Hum platform, you can request roadside and emergency assistance with the push of a button, get vehicle diagnostics, locate your vehicle and more.
Thinkmodo was tapped by Verizon to come up with ways to market Hum. Verizon’s vice president of marketing told Mashable that the transformer style SUV idea just stuck.
"In many respects, [the Hum Rider is] a bit of a metaphor, taking the ordinary driving experience and making it extraordinary. Kind of what we’re illustrating with that crazy car that drives over cars," said Jay Jaffin. "We saw this one [and said], 'Wow, that is crazy,' We loved the idea.”
Now, you may still be a bit confused as to how the transformer style SUV relates to Hum at all. James Percelay, who co-founded Thinkmodo with Michael Krivicka, told Mashable that they came up with the idea because they wanted a literal representation of the upgrade Hum brings to vehicles. So, the marketing agency decided to build a vehicle that literally goes up.
It may just look like a normal Jeep Grand Cherokee at first but with just the push of a button, the Hum Rider vehicle widens and elevates to help you conquer traffic. A video posted online shows how it works. The Thinkmodo video first asks people watching the clip, “Can your car do this?” It then shows the driver in the Hum Rider vehicle pressing an “up” button which gets the SUV’s transformation process going. In just seconds, the vehicle transforms and the driver is able to easily drive right over the vehicles in front of him. Other drivers and pedestrians who appear in the video seem shocked by the vehicle’s ability to transform. Once the driver of the Hum Rider in the video escapes the traffic, he lowers the vehicle back down. A message then appears in response to the original “Can your car do this?” question the video asked. It reads, “Of course you car can’t do that.” It then goes on to say, “But Hum can upgrade your ride with other new tricks.” It’s a pretty genius marketing stunt.
Mashable reports that the vehicle was designed by mechanical effects engineer Scott Beverly of A2ZFX. A2ZFX is based in California and helps brands stand out by creating promotional vehicles. For example, the company created the special Red Bull MINI Cooper car you’ve probably seen on the road. You simply can’t miss it as it has a large fiberglass Red Bull can on the back of it.
The Hum Rider vehicle features over 300 feet of hydraulic lines that Mashable reports power everything form the vehicle’s steering and braking to the locomotion. A gas-powered Honda generator can be found under the hood. According to Mashable, it delivers electricity to the pumps that drive 900 pounds of pressure to power all the hydraulic pumps.
When the vehicle is fully extended, the roof of the car stands at nine feet tall and that makes it tall enough to move over the roof of a standard car. Of course, you’re going to be worried about clearance in the concept vehicle no matter what. That’s why the transformed SUV also features four cameras to help make sure the Hum Rider doesn’t scrape a vehicle’s roof or swipe a mirror off.
The video posted online of the Hum Rider’s amazing abilities was shot in Lancaster, California. That’s where the company A2ZFX is based. Of course, Thinkmodo went out of its way to try to keep the vehicle a secret. That’s why Mashable reports that while the video was being shot, the marketing agency had a team of production assistants working to prevent bystanders from taking their own videos of the Hum Rider over the course of nearly 30 rides. Because nearly everyone has a smartphone these days, that’s certainly no east feat.
It certainly took plenty of effort to make the Hum Rider happen but it all seems to have been worth it. The video has already generated a ton of interest online and that was the main goal. Who wouldn’t be amazed by a vehicle that looks like it was straight out of the Inspector Gadget film?
Thinkmodo co-founder James Percelay wouldn’t reveal how much the vehicle cost to make. We’re sure it cost a pretty penny, however. And while we’re a bit bummed this vehicle was just the result of a marketing ploy for Hum by Verizon, it’s still really cool to look. We’re sure that after watching the video, it’s going to be pretty hard not to think about the Hum Rider the next time you're sitting in a traffic. One can dream, right?!