Toyota stuffs wild pop-up Camry ad with working dashboard into magazine

Toyota has produced one of the most elaborate magazine inserts ever with smells and lights, sounds and screens to promote the new Camry.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read

Ads for cars in magazines are, at this point, pretty formulaic. A beauty shot of the vehicle in question, some hyperbolic copy that throws the word dynamic in a half-dozen times, some logos and you're all set. Toyota's ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi thought that it could do better for its new Camry, so it called up Structural Graphics, and together they proceeded to lose their minds.

Structural Graphics is best known for pop-ups. Not the kind of pop up where you pay $60 to eat ramen in an ice cream shop -- think more along the lines of the birthday cards your sweet but excitable mother would send where there's a cat in a birthday hat that jumps out at you when you open it, and a little buzzer that wheezes out "Happy Birthday." Except the pop-ups that Structural Graphics does are awesome.

For the Camry pop up, the teams at Saatchi & Saatchi and Structural Graphics designed a pop-up of the new Camry's dash. To convey the excitement that the Camry is known for (tongue planted firmly in cheek) they created a first-of-its-kind simulated LCD heart monitor that slots into the pop-up infotainment screen. They also added some blue LEDs to simulate cabin lighting and a leather interior/new car scent. The design process for this insert took six months.

All of this is awesome on its own, but the plans for delivery make it even more of a standout. Rather than toss these out at an auto show, Toyota is sending these out to 50,000 subscribers of InStyle magazine. The magazine format lends some challenges to the project -- Structural graphics needed the electronics package to be robust enough to survive the mail system, ensuring that 50,000 people didn't end up with a busted paper Camry tucked in their magazine.

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The team at Structural Graphics incorporated touch sensors, lights and smells into a pop-up magazine insert.

Structural Graphics

This kind of investment by a company like Toyota in a print magazine ad buy is a big deal, particularly in this climate of dwindling circulations and shrinking page counts. Hopefully, this is an indicator of things to come for print, because there are certain things, like this pop-up, that just aren't as cool to look at on a computer screen.