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:
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.
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