Client – Lexus Australia

Markets – Australia, upcoming Global showcases

Timing – 2015 – Present

Agencies/Vendors – M&C Saatchi Sydney, Tricky Jigsaw, Darkside Scientific

Tech Word Cloud – content marketing, electroluminescent paint, channel integration, biometric data, viral video

Lexus wanted to demonstrate the thrill of driving their new RC F V8 model, so they developed the world’s first vehicle to display a heartbeat on its exterior to demonstrate the connection between man and machine.


Lexus’ luxury perceptions have always overshadowed its performance credentials. They wanted to prove that the new Lexus RC F V8, a thoroughbred performance coupe, was exhilarating to drive. The challenge became – what are the biometric measurements that trigger those sensations and how could Lexus best express them?


The idea behind the campaign was to focus on the driver’s output rather than the car’s. Lexus wanted to show how drivers reacted to the new car, so they researched what happens to a person when they drive the Lexus RC F. They tested biometric outputs such as heart rate, blood pressure, airflow measure, skin conductance, temperature, glucose levels, electromyography and blood oxygen levels and found that heart rate and skin conductance were most significantly correlated with the performance of the car. Lexus wanted to develop a car that could physically reflect these changes, so they painted a RC F V8 Coupe with biometric paintwork that displayed the driver’s heart rate on the outside of the car.


Lexus leveraged several breakthrough technologies to create the first car with a heartbeat; using panels painted with electroluminescent pain, they designed an animation sequence using a microcontroller board via a custom shield that controlled the sequence and managed power. With a compatible heartbeat monitor, the bpm was sent to the microcontroller for animation.


The campaign was designed, developed and executed by M&C Saatchi Sydney. Several tech partners came together to building the software and hardware, and develop and install the paint application including Tricky Jigsaw and Darkside Scientific. In this campaign, Lexus and M&C Saatchi found a way to leverage groundbreaking technology to drive interest and awareness with less than the budget of a traditional campaign.


By creating the “Heartbeat Car,” Lexus aimed to drive awareness through influencer channels. The PR alone generated over 18 million media impressions. Ninety standalone articles were published in more than 30 countries, and there have been 890k content views to date. Most importantly, Lexus saw their highest July sales ever, 70% above forecast.