Ad of the Day: This Porsche Magazine Ad Uses LEDs to Light Up the Car’s Insides

Brand follows its Fast Company hologram with cool Inc. placement

For the second time in as many months, Porsche is taking innovation for a spin with an unusual magazine placement. 

As you may recall, the automaker and its agency, Cramer-Krasselt, ran ads in April issues of Fast Company that brought the new Porsche 911 to life as a floating hologram.

Now, in May issues of Inc., the client-agency team employs LED technology to let readers gaze "beneath" the metal skin of a 911 and inspect its high-tech features. Pressing buttons on the ad reveals graphics and information about the car's sophisticated aerodynamics, connected digital systems and turbo-charged engine. 

The insert, created with Americhip, will run in 10,000 Inc. print issues, about 10 percent of the magazine's subscriber run. Those issues will target readers living in affluent areas near Porsche dealers. 

Check out the ad in more detail below. Click to enlarge.

Of course, LEDs have graced print ads before, but Porsche's implementation stands out "because in this case, the LEDs are not just illuminating the message, they're part of the message itself," C-K creative director Rick Standley tells Adweek. "It rejects the ordinary. Every contact with the brand should be the antithesis of mundane—because that's what every Porsche is designed and engineered to be." 

Porsche's April hologram ad in Fast Company—unusual for mainstream magazine spreads, though the approach has been used before—included a small acetate prism. Placing the prism atop a tablet computer, while it runs a special video, unlocked 3-D footage of the car. It's proven fairly popular, generating more than 17,000 video starts (with average time on site of about eight minutes), and 8.6 million Twitter impressions. 

To get the LED ad up and running, "the team tested various print materials—papers and plastics—different image layering effects, and both colored and white light diffusers to come up with the right mix," says Standley. "Other challenges included keeping internal car components from showing when buttons aren't pressed and the ability to light up precise areas of the car." 

At the very least, the ad should drive engagement; it's certainly more enticing than most passive print placements, and represents yet another attempt by legacy marketers and media to move into the interactive fast lane.

Now, if you could push one of those buttons for a whiff of that new car smell, then Porsche would really be firing on all cylinders.


Client: Porsche

Agency: Cramer-Krasselt 

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.