Harry Potter-esque Video Ads to Wow Magazine Readers


So I guess print is not dead. In fact, it is quite alive, according to the Financial Times. Readers of Entertainment Weekly will soon be privy to moving video-style ads within the pages of the magazine. Hogwarts grads and fans of dragon-related foods may find this exciting as similar concepts have been featured in "Harry Potter" books/films.

When some readers of Entertainment Weekly open their magazines next month, they will discover characters from US television programmes speaking to them from a wafer-thin video screen built into the page.

The marketing experiment – which is being conducted by CBS, the US broadcaster, and Pepsi, the soft drinks maker – recalls the fantasy newspapers of the Harry Potter films and works much like a singing greetings card, with the video starting once a reader turns the appropriate page.

The cost of the full-motion video ad was not disclosed, but it will be far more expensive than traditional print ads, according to executives familiar with the technology, developed by a US company called Americhip.

The willingness to spend on such a promotion highlights the radical means marketers are employing to reach consumers at a time when a growing number of people are using new technologies such as digital video recorders to avoid ads.

“It’s part of the future – a way to engage consumers in new and surprising ways,” said George Schweitzer, president of CBS marketing group. “How do you sample a drink? You give them a taste.”

In the Harry Potter films, the “Daily Prophet” newspaper has pictures that move. The ad in Entertainment Weekly will feature characters from several Monday night offerings on CBS, as well as a video promoting a Pepsi diet cola for men.

The video, which will play on a screen about the size of those found on mobile telephones, will appear in copies of the Time Warner magazine sent to subscribers in the New York and Los Angeles areas.