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Rev your engines: The Grand Tour’s experiential café opens for business


Cafés and coffee shops have become the fabric of the daily routine for so many of us these days. These safe spaces provide us with places to unwind, reflect, concentrate, and take some ‘me time’ out from the hustle and bustle of life.

But anyone looking for a little R&R came to the wrong place when they opted to pay a visit to The Grand Tour Café.

To celebrate the return of Amazon Prime Video’s flagship show – the frenzied, high-octane exploits of everybody’s favourite petrol-heads Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May – a New York café was given a major overhaul.

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The coffee shop in Manhattan’s West Village was reinvented to be fully kitted out in The Grand Tour insignia and automotive-inspired décor, giving customers a flavour of what lay in store for them.

As patrons settled down in comfy armchairs for a morning of reading, working, or quiet chats with friends, something strange happened. A klaxon sounded, loudly.

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Almost jumping out of their streets at the unexpected noise, first-time customers to the café were shocked when others around them revealed gear sticks nestled in their seats, donned goggles, and zoomed off – still in their leather seats – for a lap around the cavernous café. It soon emerged that the café had been filled with motorised arm chairs, coffee tables, ottomans and loveseats, all available for customers to have a go on themselves.

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Once the shock wore off, visitors to the café very quickly jumped at the opportunity to take their seats for a spin, before realising that steering a fast-moving arm chair is a lot harder than it looks!

As you’d expect from the team behind The Grand Tour, the scenes from within this NYC café were every bit as chaotic as the adrenalin-drenched TV show has become famous for since its launch.

The surprised and delighted reactions from customers provided the perfect online taster for The Grand Tour’s second season, and amassed almost half a million YouTube views within days of going live.

But it’s certainly not the only New York City coffee shop to serve as the stage for a fun experiential campaign. Sony Pictures shook up Starbucks earlier this year when Spider-Man literally dropped in from the ceiling to promote the launch of Spider-Man: Homecoming, while the unforgettable telekinetic coffee shop stunt to mark the reboot of horror classic Carrie remains a best in class example of experiential marketing, clocking up almost 70 million YouTube views and still going strong.