Video Ads In Your Print Magazines? metyourmother 200x200 Entertainment Weekly's September 18th edition will contain an unprecedented piece of content:  a video ad.  Pepsi and CBS have teamed up for the ad that will run spots for several CBS shows like "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men," as well as a commercial for Pepsi Max.  The video contains 40 minutes worth of spots.

Just in case you didn't hear me… that's 40 minutes of ad videos inside your magazine.  I can barely stand to watch 4 minutes of TV commercials between segments of Lost, let alone 40 minutes of ads that aren't even sandwiched between other pieces of video content I'm actually interested in.

The "paper-thin" video player will be powered by a rechargeable chip and will be embedded in a print ad for Pepsi and CBS.  Only a small number of the magazines will have the ad, and only in the largest markets—due to the high cost of the technology.

You can thank OMD's Ignition Factory for creating the campaign.  Americhip created the technology—the player runs on a lithium battery and "is designed to withstand the rigors of mail delivery.”  Not sure what that means, since the post office is supposed to treat our mail with care (sarcasm intended).

Now… raise your hand if you've been hankering for some video in your magazine.  Go ahead… don't be shy… we'll wait.

Nobody?  Hmmm.  Maybe that's because people who still subscribe to magazines actually like to read?  I'm just speculating here—and maybe I'm way out on my own on this one—but if I was reading a wonderful new Entertainment Weekly article about the upcoming Fall movie season (their preview issues are amazing), the last thing I want when I turn the page is a video to start playing… audio and all.  Might actually make me throw the magazine across the room in surprise.

I'm assuming the video plays automatically—why spend the millions on the technology if you're not going to have the video play on its own… you risk the audience not even knowing there's a video to see if you are requiring them to push "play" or something.  Here's a YouTube clip of the ad in action:

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That video certainly makes the ad appear to play automatically.  Let's take another poll:  raise your hand if you love video or audio on the web that plays automatically.  Anyone?

That's what I thought.

The warm fuzzies they'll get out of this marketing stunt will wear off quickly, and video ads in print publications will never take off as a regular type of advertising.

Don't get me wrong.  Pepsi and CBS (there's a marriage made in heaven) will get more than their money's worth of branding buzz out of this thing.  No doubt everyone who gets that magazine is going to run to show the paper-thin video player to their friends and family. But I don't expect to see video ads in print publications becoming commonplace.  At least not anytime soon.  This will never take off as a regular form of advertising.  I'm pretty sure people who want video are already going to the TV and the web… not the ripping open the plastic on the latest Readers Digest.  As long as they're putting ink to paper for mass distribution, I think the interactive stuff will keep to a minimum—the people still buying the print edition and eschewing the interactive web versions of newspapers and magazines are the very people who don't care about video or flashy ads.

George Schweitzer of the CBS Marketing Group said, "This has never been done before.”  That's true, George, that's true.  But that's not a good reason to do it.  This is all marketing stunt, and not at all an indication of the future of video.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily ReelSEO.

  • Matt

    "Don’t get me wrong. Pepsi and CBS (there’s a marriage made in heaven) will get more than their money’s worth of branding buzz out of this thing."

    Agreed. And that's the most important point. If Pepsi and CBS have calculated that the buzz they'll get (from everyone running to show it to their friends, from us sitting around discussing it here) constitutes a healthy ROI, then that's a marketing stunt well done.

  • Jeremy Scott

    We might have to agree to disagree. If the technology is as expensive as they say it is... then there's no practical application for it, which means it's all for show. Now, you may say that the technology will get cheaper and cheaper... and while that's true... it will come at a time when magazine subscriptions are dropping lower and lower. Just doesn't seem like a long term strategy. Again... feels like it's all a bit of a marketing stunt.

    I don't mean for a second to say that it's not cool... because it is. But if you're going to go ahead and spend whatever absurdly high amount that it costs, I'm a bit curious why they put 40 minutes of ads in the video player, instead of some actual content (such as a full episode of How I Met Your Mother, or something)?

    I didn't mean to suggest that people who like to read are mutually exclusive of people who like video. What I meant to say was that people who like to read and like video are probably on Entertainment Weekly's website... not standing by their mailbox waiting for the print edition.

    Oh, and "because we can" has been used as an excuse for just as many stupid and horrible human acts (hydrogen bomb, Holocost) as it has positive and uplifting ones (moon landings, discovering America). You can put a Blu-Ray player in a toaster... doesn't mean it's a good idea.

    The technology and the "wow" factor are awesome... no argument there. I just don't see a practical use for video ads in magazines.

    • ChristophorRick

      The Holocaust was done 'just because we can'? Not exactly, more because of the megalomania of one highly disturbed mind... and please, Blu-Ray in a toaster? you couldn't make toast and have a disc in there at the same time, it would melt.

      All absurdity aside, it's an idea that's obviously working. Like Matt says below, we're talking about it and I'm betting a lot of others are as well. Seems like they're doing quite well already, and they haven't even distributed the ads.

      I do agree that 40 minutes of ads is excessive, unless those ads are something interesting and include perhaps clips, summaries, etc from the shows to catch people up or remind them of where they left off last season.

      Because we can is exactly the reason to do these sorts of things. That's called innovation and progress... Opening one's mind to the possibilities is how we expand our horizons and achieve the unbelievable and the impossible. That's the human spirit man!

      Does it NEED to be done? Well no, if you look at it that way....NO advertising NEEDS to be done. without it we would just go buy only the things we need and not a lot of excess junk that piles up in peoples' homes and then ends up in landfills across the planet having been used maybe once or twice...

  • ChristophorRick

    That's some seriously cool technology and I would certainly be showing it to everyone I knew. Plus it's fairly well targeted. I mean if you're actually subscribing to Entertainment Weekly, you have a serious interest in Film and TV, ergo, video ads about TV on there. You seem to think that people who like to read are mutually exclusive of people who like to watch video for entertainment purposes, I beg to differ :)

    Is it the future of video ads? No, probably not, like you said. But because it's never been done before is EXACTLY why someone should. If we all thought your way we'd have never gone to the moon, Europeans wouldn't have accidentally stumbled upon North America, in fact, we'd probably not even have video at all...

    I give them props for taking a daring step in a marketing campaign. After all, that's what the creative types are paid for right? To create creative ways to market things?