FOX 50 Unveils Zū: The Interactive Car

FOX 50 now has a state-of-the art inter-active vahicle named to help promote the station.
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FOX 50 recently unveiled a branch new Creative Services creation, an interactive car named Zū.   Containing two large HDTVs, four computers, a variety of cameras, built in Mi-FI and PS3, and the latest technology, Zū is a new tool to help promote FOX 50 and MeTV.

The name Zū comes from WRAZ and you.  FOX 50 Art Director 1 Gayle Hardy designed all of the graphics and worked hand in hand with FOX 50 Creative Services Director Kevin Kolbe to make Zū a reality.

Zū is a Honda Element, chosen because the back doors open “backwards” to allow ease of seeing the multiple screens contained in the doors and behind the seats.  Dreamworks Motor Sports, a small company in Roxboro with an impressive client list of pro athletes, did the custom interior.

Talks about the possibility of an interactive car started in 2011, with the original concept being a Hummer with the name Rolling Thunder.  The Hummer was tossed in an effort to make the project green and the name axed because a motorcycle group already use the moniker. 

FOX 50 purchased the Honda Element that would become Zū on April 26, 2012, and the transformation began.

Kolbe says that Adam at Dreamworks “’got’ the vision” and began the creation of the unique, forward-thinking vehicle.  WRAL-TV IT Manager Jeff Ritchie played an instrumental role with finding brand new, cutting edge technology to include in Zū. 

FOX 50 Creative Services
FOX 50’s Kevin Kolbe gives his Creative Services team a crash course on Zū’s many features.

Many of the features are brand new to the industry.  Kolbe said there was “no manual for this, ‘How To Run an Interactive Vehicle You Built’.”

Kolbe allowed capcom in on a sneak peek with his Creative Services team before the official unveiling to the entire FOX 50 staff.

Zū is designed so that one person can drive and set it up.  The car includes two HDTV sets with antenna so the car can show two channels at once, both FOX 50 and MeTV.  The doors have touch-screen computer screens.  Zū also has a variety of cameras which can record the people walking by and even show them live on one of its screens.  The cameras can be set up to be motion activated.

In lieu of a rearview mirror, Zū has a camera for the driver to see behind the vehicle.  In the space for the rearview mirror, two iTouch connections are located.  This set-up can be used to record interviews between the driver and passenger.  Say Scotty McCreery visits FOX 50.  If a staffer were to drive him to the airport afterwards, he or she could record a chat with the Idol en route.

“The Creative Services team has been working countless hours to develop this unique interactive platform. In the past, we have not had a station ‘personality’ for community events and promotions. With ZU, we now have the vehicle, pun intended, to add sizzle at events and to extend both the FOX 50 and METV brands in a fun and cutting edge way.”
– FOX 50 Vice President & General Manager Tommy Schenck

The multiple electronics, including flashy strobe lights, in Zū can be run either by plugging the car into a power source or by two internal batteries, not the car’s actual battery.  Zū can run for up to two hours without being plugged in.  The internal batteries charge when the car is running.

Zū has its own personality and will soon have a blog and a Facebook page.  T-shirts with the logo “Zū Cru” are on the way, along with new custom floor mats. 

sports an HDTV set in the back.
can be plugged in to a power source to run its technology or can run off of two internal batteries.

Zū made its inaugural appearance at FOX 50’s local “X Factor” auditions on April 27, 2013. The car will become a familiar site around the Triangle.  Kolbe’s staff has already come up with a variety of ways to use the new tool. 

“That’s the beauty of my team,” he said.  “They have all these ideas.”

Zū will be a part of FOX 50’s Summer of Free.  Soon the station will launch Free Lunch Fridays.  Viewers can enter to win free lunch for their office, delivered by Zū, of course.

Having Zū complete has been worth the wait for Kolbe and his staff.

“You envision something and then it finally gets there,” said Kolbe.  “I was like, Sweet!”


Zu: FOX 50’s New Interactive Car

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