Editor's Note: A representative from Structural Graphics reached out to clarify the technology behind Toyota's InStyle ad. The story has been updated to more accurately reflect the experience.
- Toyota debuted an interactive foldout ad for its 2018 Camry in the March issue of InStyle magazine that takes readers inside the car through sight, sound, smell and touch, Adweek reported. The ad simulates measuring readers' heart rates, marking the first time an LCD heart monitor simulator has been featured in a magazine and the first time two independent electronic units have been combined into a magazine insert, according to a news release.
- Readers can grab the door handles and place their thumbs on the built-in sensors to activate a heart monitor icon that simulates a pulse line, per the release. The LCD monitor included in the insert lights up LED lights that allow readers to see and hear their heartbeat, including through an audible beeping noise.
- The doors open to a replica of the Camry's dashboard complete with the new car scent. Toyota worked with Saatchi & Saatchi, its agency of record, and several vendors including the dimensional print marketing firm Structural Graphics, to create the interactive ad. Toyota's insert helped InStyle exceed its March sales target, Adweek said. The ad is only available to print subscribers. Meredith Corp. took over ownership of InStyle and other Time Inc. titles on Feb. 1.
Toyota's multi-sensory interactive magazine ad is both attention-grabbing and engaging. The heart rate simulator is likely to keep readers on the page and looking at the new Camry's features while delivering the message that the car is so exciting it could make a driver's heart race. Toyota's timing with the campaign is also spot on. InStyle's March cover features Oprah Winfrey, who generated lots of buzz after her rousing speech at the Golden Globes in January when she received Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement and a subsequent call by a portion of the population for her to run for president.
Marketers continue looking for crafty ways to stand out and reach consumers by giving them a unique experience. While many have been focusing much of their attention and ad dollars on digital platforms, interactive print ads could help drive excitement with a targeted audience. Earlier this year, Ikea did something similar. The homewares retailer launched a print ad campaign for baby cribs that doubled as a pregnancy test. The ad featured special paper and the tagline "peeing on this ad may change your life." A discount appeared after a few seconds of urine dripping on it for pregnant consumers.
Interactive print ads like Toyota's can be pricey, complex and time-consuming to produce, but they can also generate lots of buzz and ultimately sales for brands. They can also be a boon to print media, which has experienced ad revenue declines over the past few years. Print magazine ad sales were expected to decline 13% in 2017 and follow the same trend in 2018, according to a forecast from Magna. While Toyota's Camry ad is a unique activation, InStyle, which had a combined digital and print monthly readership of 14.2 million in December, is hoping for more campaigns like this to help it boost revenue, according to Adweek.
Meredith Corp. acquired Time Inc. late last year for a reported $2.8 billion. Along with InStyle, the buy included titles like People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Entertainment Weekly.