If you’re a car company, putting your potential customer “in the driver’s seat” virtually is pretty easy these days, using everything from television commercials and online videos to augmented and virtual reality. But these only allow you to convey the sight and sound of that new car experience.
To promote the 2018 Camry, Toyota and their agency Saatchi & Saatchi, with the help of Structural Graphics, pulled the humble automobile ad into the third dimension with a removable insert that not only engages four of the five senses, but also quickens the pulse of anyone who comes in contact with it. (More on that later.)
Inserted into select copies of InStyle magazine and mailed to some 50,000 unsuspecting subscribers, the promotion looks like a substantial high-end brochure while closed. Opening the cover reveals a gatefold with two car door handles and the words “Indulge your senses in the 2018 Camry.” Grasp the cleverly die-cut handles with your thumbs pressed firmly against the metallic dots provided, give them both a tug, and what was once a modest brochure suddenly folds out into a paper-based Camry cockpit.
No detail was spared in the recreation of the car’s interior, with the pop-up steering wheel exactly where it should be in relation to the dashboard dials and electronic readout. The gear shift, too, is close at hand just where you’d expect to find it.
Now if only I could figure out what that beeping sound is…
Oh wait, that’s my heart rate, or so the LCD readout is telling me – installed where the Camry’s media player would be, complete with the familiar rising and falling lines of a heart rate monitor.
“We were toying around with the idea of how your body responds to stimulus,” reveals Marc D’Avignon, Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi. “Hair raising. Neurons firing. Hearts racing. And we didn’t want to TELL people that’s how it would feel driving the redesigned Camry; we wanted people to feel it at home. That’s easier to do digitally or on TV; you have more tools in the toolbox. In print you think you have less, but you don’t. It all started with a question: ‘What if you could see your heartbeat race when you interact with the ad?’ ”
So impressive are the pop-up pieces – printed offset on 80 lb. Verso Sterling Premium Cover [Get Swatchbook] – it actually takes me a moment to realize – is that…oh my IT IS – they’ve included that leathery new car smell, too! (That last touch comes to us courtesy of special scented inks applied via screen printing.)
Finally, they used four low-tack glue dots to hand tip the insert to a carrier card – 100 lb. Verso Sterling Premium Cover – that was bound into the magazine to ensure it stayed in place. (The carrier card features the same art and copy as the insert’s cover.)
“We applied the same methods of thinking about digital to print,” D’Avignon explains. “Our bar for every piece of communication was ‘will it immediately and viscerally make people feel what it’s like to drive the new Camry?’ Then we started asking questions. Words and pictures are great, but how do we engage more senses? How do we immerse people? How do we make print feel interactive? How do we put people behind the wheel? How can they touch the dashboard? Smell the leather? Experience the excitement?”
We’ve seen some amazing dimensional marketing pieces from Structural Graphics over the years, but their paper-engineering knowhow, combined here with Toyota and Saatchi & Saatchi’s creative teams, has yielded something truly extraordinary.
“Lots of what we wanted to do had never been done before,” D’Avignon admits. “So there was much trial and error. Many prototypes. Many setbacks. At one point we had so many batteries in the insert that the post office would not mail it, so it had to be reconfigured. But we had a patient, engaged client at Toyota who saw the power and value behind what we were doing, and great partners who were as excited about the challenge as we were.”
And that excitement is contagious – just listen to my heart monitor!
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