Ad of the Day: This Porsche Magazine Ad Brings the 911 to Life as a Floating Hologram

Feeling the future?

Some advertisers have grown increasingly inventive with print media in recent years.

Motorola, you may recall, created a button that let readers change the color of cellphones shown on the printed page, while the CW embedded a live Twitter feed in a magazine ad to hype its shows. And in 2014, a Nivea print campaign, harnessing solar energy to recharge mobile phones, won Adweek's Project Isaac Gravity Award honoring the year's coolest concept in media, marketing and technology.

Now, Porsche roars into the mix with what it's calling "the world's first interactive hologram print ad" (though, of course, there have been similar efforts).

Working with ad agency Cramer-Krasselt, the automaker is running a special spread in about 50,000 copies of Fast Company's April issue for a select group of affluent subscribers. One of those pages includes a small acetate prism, along with directions for assembly. 

Placing the prism atop a tablet computer—while it runs a video from—brings shimmering 3-D footage of the latest Porsche 911 to life:

Pretty cool! Perhaps not "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi" cool, but impressive nonetheless. 

More than 150,000 prisms have been created, including 100,000 glass versions that will be distributed mainly via direct mail. 

"At the core of the brand is fascination. That's what every Porsche created was designed to inspire," Marshall Ross, C-K's chief creative officer, tells Adweek. "This [hologram ad] was designed to create the same thing. We want the audience to leave with a feeling of intrigue and curiosity."

Ross says the client loved the idea of touting Porsche innovation through an innovative ad format. Plus, the media coverage should increase the bang for the buck.

"We try to build share-value somewhere into every campaign," he says. "Porsche is outspent by pretty much all its competition. So work that gets shared—by fans, by loyalists and, yes, by the media—is invaluable to us, and an important measure of our success." 

Of course, putting together the project was no easy task.

"Traditional video images won't work to create the hologram effect in the prism projection," Ross says. "So there was an incredible amount of trial and error involved in just producing the video."

The prism's size and angles were rigorously tested and tweaked over several months to ensure the best viewing experience. "We maximized the size of the prism within the constraints of the publication's page size and affixed it to the insert so it was secure yet easily removable without tearing," Ross says.

C-K collaborated closely with Fast Company's printer, Quad Graphics, "sending numerous prototypes to test binding so there were no [unwanted] surprises in the finished piece."

The hologram has barely hit the road, but C-K and Porsche are already revving up an encore that will take the form of an LED-powered ad that will appear in May issues of Inc. magazine. "The LED will provide specific details about the car's new technology," Ross says. "So this is another example of 'walking the walk,' using technology to tell a technology story."

For the upcoming spread, "There'll be four touch buttons on the page," he says. "And each will illuminate a transparency, allowing the reader to see below the metal [of the car] to the new advancements." 

With both its hologram and LED ads, Porsche seeks to break down the "wall between print's normal passivity and people's desire to interact," Ross says, adding new dimension and value to a tried-and-true medium.


Client: Porsche

Product: 911

Project: Hologram print and video

Agency: Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago

Chief Creative Officer: Marshall Ross

Group Creative Directors: Ned Brown, Bill Dow

Creative Director: Rick Standley

Senior Art Director: Brian Steinseifer

Art Director: John McKenzie

Copywriter: John Doessel

Executive Producer: Scott McBurnie

Print Production: Sharon Potter, Rene Camadeca

Group Account Director: Chris Hanley

Strategic Planning: Sarah Stahurski, Cara MacLean

Account Management: Julie Richardson, Christina Clark

Production House: Bent Image Lab                 

Executive Producer: Derrick Huang

Producer: Paul Diener       

Director: Chase Massingill              

Sound Designer: Drew Skinner                   

3-D Lead: Mike Senften                 

Design, Animation: Toros Kose                        

Compositing, Animation: Jeff Billon                           

Additional 3-D, Animation: Krysztof Pianko 

Printer: Printing Arts    

@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.
Publish date: March 30, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT