Departures magazine is sending out key fobs for an OLED-animated Audi ad

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The microprocessor-controlled Audi ad produced for the November/December issue of Departures.
The microprocessor-controlled Audi ad produced for the November/December issue of Departures. Credit: Departures.

Departures, the glossy magazine for American Express Platinum Card members published by Meredith Corporation, is merging print and digital for a new Audi campaign. To call attention to the 2019 Audi A8, the automaker worked with the magazine's creative team to produce a special animated insert for 25,000 targeted Departures subscribers, who will get a replica Audi key fob in the mail in a padded envelope along with the November/December issue containing the insert.

It works like this: A reader can use her replica fob to "unlock" the Audi A8 shown in the ad, and an ultrathin microprocessor sandwiched between the glossy cardstock of the insert then activates organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) that mimic the way the real-life vehicle's taillights behave. The ad also activates itself without the key fob when first flipped open. (See a short demo video below.)

Audi is putting a lot of emphasis on the vehicle's luxury touches, and considers the new taillight "greeting" to be a signature visual feature of the 2019 A8. It was dreamed up by Audi Design Chief Mark Lichte.

Giulio Capua, vice president and publisher of Departures, tells Ad Age that he and his team wanted to "create something truly innovative and show-stopping" that would offer an "imaginative introduction" to the design-meets-technology message of the car's launch. Loren Angelo, VP of marketing for Audi of America, says the goal was to not only create something "eye-catching," but to interactively demonstrate the 2019 A8's "next-generation lighting design in an entirely new and unique way" that otherwise could only be experienced on the lot of an Audi dealership.

The technology for the ad was produced for Departures by Structural Graphics, an Essex, Connecticut-based expert in what it calls "dimensional print marketing." Among its greatest hits: an E-Ink execution for the 75th anniversary issue of Esquire 10 years ago.

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