From a creative perspective, branding a sport that doesn’t yet exist beyond the imagination of a few individuals was a challenging task. One of the biggest hurdles for Dazzle Ship was striking a balance between educating viewers on the real-world aspect of the sport – this isn’t CG; crashes are real – while transporting them into a futuristic science fiction environment that would represent the experience of drone racing.
DRL is the first-ever professional race series for first-person-view (FPV) drone racing, bringing together the world’s best pilots to fly DRL Racer 2 quadcopters head-to-head through neon-lit environments in the quest for the planet’s best FPV pilot. An early DRL YouTube teaser went viral in January 2016, racking up almost two million views with tantalising footage of the exciting new sport. DRL introduced the world to epic courses, high-speed crashes and nail-biting competition.
Dazzle Ship was invited to collaborate with DRL after CEO Nick Horbaczewski saw the studio’s work in a showcase of the world’s best Maxon Cinema 4D users, and the two teams worked hand-in-hand to develop the materials, continually iterating the creative process to develop something completely new over a 4 year period. The result is a fast-paced, full-channel branding project for the cutting-edge new sports league.
Lex Johnson Creative Director of Dazzle Ship says : “Working with start-up’s is something i am very passionate about. In 2001 i started my career translating offline subcultures such as pirate radio and grime music to online platforms, now in 2017 with a brand new sport such as Drone Racing this feels very familiar. There is an exciting challenge to create work that needs to tread a fine line between being informative enough to educate the viewer, but also being visually appealing enough to engage them. Too much of the former and it’s boring, and too much of the latter and it’s confusing. The feeling that you are treading new ground to create your own rules and conventions is the most thrilling part of being a creative.
We had the chance to create a blueprint of a cutting-edge new sport at the forefront of technology. We approached this one-of-a-kind project with the goal of connecting the DRL brand to a new worldwide fanbase. For the aesthetic, we had to deliver fresh visuals that embodied the persona of a futuristic sport. For the narrative, we had to take a very complex topic and simplify it – something that has become a specialist skill of ours.”
“With the help of Dazzle Ship, DRL has introduced a new sport to audiences around the world, delivering the passion for racing, science fiction-inspired content and competition to a new generation of sport fans,” said Ben Johnson, DRL spokesperson. “We’re thrilled by their work and the shared passion for creating a futuristic vision of sport.”
DRL launched its first season in 2016 on sports broadcast channels around the world. Dazzle Ship captured the thrill of the futuristic sport in creative assets, ranging from the: promo films, design identity, broadcast bumpers, the DRL leaderboards and digital ads.
The ‘Racer 4’ campaign for the 2019 DRL Allianz World Championship Season helped DRL drive more than 6 million viewers to DRL’s Twitter stream alone and nearly 500K viewers on NBC — the highest season premiere viewership on TV in DRL’s history.