Toyota's newest immersive magazine insert checks your heartbeat as it races

Toyota's new magazine insert for its Camry sedan literally checks your heartbeat once you look inside. / Toyota

Saatchi & Saatchi creatives put together an immersive, 3D hand-made insert to promote Toyota’s new Camry.

The technology required assistance from dimensional print marketing firm Structural Graphics, as well as eight months of research, development, engineering of paper and electronics, bespoke technology and functionality.

50,000 of these inserts were created, by hand, and modeled off of the interior of the Camry. A gatefold was assembled in a layered 3D effect, and included wiring and batteries to make the experience come to life. Subscribers of the women's lifestyle magazine InStyle recieved these inserts in its March issue.

Users put their thumbs on the metallic door sensors in order to open the insert. Once engaged, a leather scent is activated. Those tabs measure your heart rate and send the data to a monitor in the audio console that registers the heartbeat with accompanying LCD lights and sounds.

“Will it immediately and viscerally make people feel what it’s like to drive the new Camry?” was the main thought Saatchi creative director Marc D’Avignon and his team approached this task with. “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?”

Re-enacting the experience required them to think about how the body responds to stimulus. “Hair raising, neurons firing, hearts racing.” D’Avignon wanted to avoid telling people how it would feel to drive the redesigned sedan, “We wanted people to feel it at home,” a task that’s far easier to do digitally or on TV. “In print,” he said, “you think you have less—but you don’t.”

As a majority of the technology used was never utilized before in print, D’Avignon said there was naturally trial and error, prototypes and setbacks aplenty. “At one point,” he mentions, “we had so many batteries in the insert that the post office wouldn’t ship it so we had to reconfigure the battery design using only two batteries.”

He credits Toyota as being “patient, engaged clients” who “saw the power and value behind what we were doing.” It’s an execution that could go well at car shows worldwide, but D’Avignon believes that the merging of tech and print will be something to look out for in the long run.

“Print is going through its own technological revolution,” he said. “So, what’s possible continues to change. So if we ask more of ourselves when we engage with it, print is absolutely able to respond to the challenge.”

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