Ford and Lexus Experiment with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

For this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, two car companies created unique ad campaigns specifically for the issue, but also extended those print campaign into the online and mobile world through unique added content: Ford, and Lexus.

Ford Dalena Henriques

Ford’s ad for the new 2013 Mustang featured a tease of a model named Dalena Henriques. She only appears once in the magazine, in Ford’s ad, which is odd since most models make repeat appearances throughout the issue. However, there’s a good reason for this oddity: Dalena Henriques is a made-up model that Ford created for their swimsuit spread.

Ford was counting on readers to search for more of Dalena by firing up Google and searching for her name, since that search would more than likely end at DalenaHenriques.com, the only site that existed for this made-up model.

Dalena Henriques

On the site is a collection of additional photos of the car, each with additional, partial glimpses of ‘Dalena’. The photos show off everything from the taillights, wheels and hood vents to the interior, navigation system and door handles, and each includes a pun-filled caption from Dalena as she talks about how excited she was to be featured in the ad.

By guaranteeing that all searches for Dalena Henriques would end up on a site that Ford controlled (at least for a little while until posts like this flooded Google with her name), they were able to direct and control all search results without spending a single dollar on Search Engine Marketing.

Tori Praver Lexus Ad

Lexus decided to go with Tori Praver, an actual swimsuit model, for their ad. For the print version, Tori’s photo was turned into a race track, with ‘curves’ that only the new 2013 Lexus GS F Sport could handle.

While the concept is novel, it’s the extensions of the ad that caught my eye.

As many bikini-filled ads often do, the Lexus campaign included a ‘making of’ video that showed off a few additional views of the car, along with extended views of Tori Praver. (To be fair, this is to be expected, given the intended audience of the issue, and the ad.)

Taking things a step further though, they also released a game for iOS devices called TORI 500, where players were challenged to “see what it’s like to race the all-new Lexus GS around Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Tori Praver”.

Tori 500

Unlike a print ad, which will be viewed briefly while flipping from one page to the next, a mobile game is something that guarantees extended interaction between the user and the brand, and helps to increase the exposure time of the campaign.

Finally, in addition to the game, Lexus also created an app called Super Modeled that lets you take Tori Praver and/or the Lexus GS F Sport and “place these two famous models in virtually any photo on your iPhone”.

Given the recent explosion in popularity of photo editing on the iPhone, this was a smart move by Lexus to take advantage of this trend with a simple app that’s still likely to see heavy use.

Both Ford and Lexus were smart to test out experimental extensions on a large and highly targeted placement like the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Regardless of how these extensions perform, the print ads still serve their main purpose in the magazine, and any additional interaction with the campaign through these digital and mobile experiences can be viewed as icing on the cake.

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