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21 . 03 . 18

Toyota's take on print marketing effectiveness? Get a grip

Words by: Print Power
The automotive giant Toyota has come up with a clever, sensory print marketing campaign to tell whether its new 2018 Toyota Camry gets your motor running.
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The power of print at a glance

  • Multi-sensory, 3-D, connected print marketing has the power to surprise and delight
  • When it comes to channel choice, the obvious one isn’t necessarily the right one
  • It’s always good to try something new – in fact, it’s the job of brands and agencies to push the boundaries of what’s possible. But make sure you do it well

When 50,000 select subscribers of the US edition of InStyle magazine flicked open the March issue and pulled out the included insert (a clever Toyota print advertisement), they were presented with two car door handles – modelled on those of the new 2018 Toyota Camry – which had to be gripped to gain access to a gatefold spread.

Inside, they discovered a pop-up replica of the car’s dashboard, complete with LCD monitor and the real scent of its leather interior. More interestingly, the simple act of touching the unique print advertisement also created a circuit connection that fed live data on the reader to a heart rate monitor embedded in the page.

The creators of this immersive, multi-sensory campaign for Toyota – Saatchi & Saatchi Dallas/Los Angeles, supported by Connecticut-based print marketing specialists Structural Graphics – reckon their layered, 3-D ‘connected’ execution is the first time an LCD monitor simulator has been built into a mag.

Probably because it’s anything but straightforward to do. 

It had to be sturdy enough to survive being rolled up, thrown around, shoved into mail boxes and thumbed through.


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While the technical aspects of this achievement were undoubtedly daunting, the creative conceit was actually quite simple.

In a recent interview with The Drum, Saatchi Creative Director Marc d’Avignon explains: “We were toying with the idea of how your body responds to stimulus. Hair raising. Neurons firing. Heart racing. And we asked: ‘What if you could actually see your own heart race when you interact with the ad?’”

These questions quickly morphed into a discussion about which channel to use to best re-imagine Toyota's new model Camry…and elicit the required emotional response.

TV and digital were arguably the obvious, easier choices. But in this case, not the right ones. Print, Toyota and Saatchi felt, might be harder. But it would also be more unexpected – despite the fact that it’s a fairly ‘typical’ auto advertising format.

“With print, you often think you have fewer tools in the toolbox,” d’Avignon tells Print Power. “But you don’t. The medium is going through its own technological revolution. And it’s our job to push the boundaries of what’s possible. I think print has just as much power to surprise and delight as any digital or social engagement.”

“It’s always good to try something new,” he adds. “But it also has to be done well. A bad experience – no matter its technological promise – is worse than doing nothing at all. If we put this in people’s hands and it didn’t immediately draw you into the experience, it would have been a failure. Today, we ask everything we engage with to do more. To be more social. To be more informative. More immersive. We need to ask the same of print. I think people will be surprised at some of the amazing things print can do.”

Structural Graphics’ President, Ethan Goller, agrees: “I think this sort of rejuvenation in the magazine space is very exciting.”

Curious about how you can add connectivity to print campaigns? Check out our chat with creative technologist Kate Stone. And sign up to our newsletter for further inspiration.