April 20th 2016

New Technology Allows Interactive Print Ads.

Posted by Will Shadbolt

Last month Porsche ran an unconventional print ad in 50,000 copies of Fast Company's April issue. The ad featured a spread that included a little acetate prism, assembly directions and a URL. When placed over a tablet running a special video, the prism created a 3-D hologram of the newest Porsche 911 build. The campaign's unique and futuristic approach has proved successful, with over 8.6 million Twitter comments about it, spurring the company to bring out 100,000 more prisms, this time made out of glass, mailed directly to interested consumers.

Now, just one month later, the company has come back with another atypical, tech-savvy print ad. Copies of the May issue going to areas near Porsche dealers also have a special ad in them: a spread of the Porsche 911 model with buttons below. Press one and a corresponding part of the car will light up using LED technology, revealing the car's "skeleton" and the high-tech features that it offers. While LEDs have been previously used in print ads, Porsche's use of the technology is notable because the lighting here is a key component of the message advertised and not just a method to bring attention to it.

For both ads, the creative team pushed technology (and their imaginations) to the limit. In the case of the former, since normal videos formats would not work with the prism, just creating a hologram-friendly video was a struggle. And once that was completed, testing and finalizing the prism's angles and sizes took another few months. For the latter, the company performed tests on a number of different paper materials and worked hard to perfect the LED technology and ensure all the car parts would light up correctly when their buttons were pushed.

With tons of publicity and social media shares, the campaign appears to have been worth the effort. The team credits its success to not just interesting technology, but also interactivity. Citing print ad's passivity in an age of action, the team sought to improve consumers' engagement with the form. It remains to be seen if Porsche will put out any similar ads in the near future, but with the current campaign proving so successful, it is likely that some brands will move towards more interactive advertising in the future. 

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