The Atlantic Tries to Turn Native Inside Out, Beginning With the Biology of Porsche Drivers

Heart rate and breathing become works of art

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

The Atlantic’s creative marketing arm, Atlantic Re:think, recently overhauled its native ad strategy, introducing a new responsive, immersive and highly customizable platform for long-form branded content. Today, the publisher is taking advantage of the new platform to unveil one of its biggest custom content campaigns to date, “The Art of the Thrill,” for luxury auto brand Porsche.

What makes this campaign unique, said The Atantic’s publisher, Hayley Romer, is its emphasis on shareability. “One of the things that we keep learning is that people are interested in sharing great content, especially data,” she said. To take advantage of that fact, Romer and the Re:think team engineered a campaign that used two big trends—personal data tracking and wearable tech—to create visual content that could be easily shared in social media.

Romer began by tapping into the company’s live events business to invite a group of 25 influencers (like Appsavvy co-founder Michael Burke and fashion designer Anna Hovet) to test-drive the Porsche Macan at a Chicago-area racetrack.

The participants were each suited up in Hexoskins, high-tech shirts that can track vitals like heart rate and breathing, to measure their individual responses to driving the car. Personalized analytics platform TRAQS collected the data, which was then turned into digital “art” by design studio Sosolimited.

The finished product (there’s also a print component in the magazine’s November issue) includes abstract images that illustrate everything from participants’ changing breathing rates to their individual reactions to rounding a tight corner.

Thanks to the new native platform, readers will be able to pull out specific pieces of content from the ad—like images or video—and share them on Facebook or Twitter. 

“Porsche is a sexy product, so we wanted to do something dramatically different with it,” Romer said. “To actually take data and turn it into art, that’s really unique.”


@adweekemma emma.bazilian@adweek.com Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.
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