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Is the World Ready for Video Ads in Magazines?

By Jennifer Farley



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This week CBS and Pepsi brought a dash of new media to old media. Selected copies of this month’s Entertainment Weekly and the September 18 edition of Time will feature video advertisements inside the pages of the paper-based magazines.

A small video screen about the size of a mobile phone screen is glued onto the page. The screen is 2.7mm thick, contains rechargeable batteries and can store forty minutes of video. CBS will show a preview of their upcoming programmes, while Pepsi will show a drinks ad.

The technology for the ad, called “Video In Print” has been developed by US company Americhip who specialise in branding and design that appeals to all five senses.

President of CBS marketing group, George Schweitzer has compared the video in print ads to the “Daily Prophet”, a newspaper with moving pictures in the Harry Potter movies. The main aim of the campaign is to create buzz about the products, enough buzz to justify the costs of the video ads.

The ads will only appear in the Los Angeles and New York, with the Financial Times reckoning the video ads will be very expensive.

One magazine industry executive with knowledge of the technology estimated that running one video ad in 100,000 copies would cost in the low seven-figure range. That would translate into a cost of several dollars per copy. By contrast, a full-page color ad in Entertainment Weekly costs about 9 cents a page per copy.

Last year, Esquire magazine also experimented with a new digital technology called e-ink to produce patterns on the cover of the mag. This wasn’t a great success, however. E-ink is the technology used in the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle electronic books.

It will be interesting to see the results and feedback from this experiment. The ad looks pretty small on the page, just like when the first videos appeared on the web. This could be the start of something big, exciting yet possibly very annoying. It seems there is no sound control on the ad.

What do you think about this? Is it a waste of money or an exciting opportunity to use new technology?

Jennifer Farley is a designer, illustrator and design instructor based in Ireland. She writes about design and illustration on her blog at Laughing Lion Design.

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