Lexus Print Ad Roars to Life, With a Little Help From an iPad

CinePrint adds color, music and sound

We've written before about print ads that don't just sit there looking pretty. Here's the latest one: a Lexus ad in the Oct. 15 Sports Illustrated that suddenly becomes animated—the engine revs, the headlights flash, the wheels spin and the background pulses with color, all to a blaring musical soundtrack—when you place the ad over an iPad that has the Web page loaded. (It also works with a special Lexus video inside the iPad edition of SI.) You can get an idea of the experience in the clip below, although the real thing is surely more impressive. Critics say it's just a glorified video, but it isn't—it's the play of the light through the printed page that's novel and delightful. In a way, it's almost like a print version of projection mapping, minus the 3-D aspect. Projecting light on (or in this case, through) a tangible surface creates an effect neither medium can accomplish on its own. The most impressive, and in many ways the simplest, example of this was the great solar-powered print ad from green-energy company Shikun & Binui Solaria—featuring a black-and-white sketch that, when held up to sunlight, blossomed into full color. (No iPad necessary!) In terms of bells and whistles, though, the Lexus ad more than delivers.
     Working with ad agency Team One, Lexus developed a special technology for this that it's calling "CinePrint." "Most traditional mashups feature print ads that redirect to a digital experience away from the printed page," the automaker says. "CinePrint technology flips that on its head, creating a tactile and visceral connection that brings one closer to the printed page with a multi-sensory experience that combines sight, sound and touch."
     Lexus is pretty into funky print ads, having utilized Near Field Communication technology in an ad for Wired's April issue that allowed users to transfer video and other content from the ad to their smartphones. On the publishing side, Time Inc. is consistently welcoming tech-friendly print ads, too, having already embedded a live Twitter feed for the CW in Entertainment Weekly.