If you happen to be an Entertainment Weekly subscriber living in New York or Los Angeles, pay close attention to the September 18 issue you’ll be receiving. There’s something special in it: a video ad.

That’s right. A video player as thin as paper will activate when a reader opens up an ad page and a video sponsored by Pepsi will promote upcoming television shows on CBS.

According to CBS Marketing Group president George Schweitzer, television networks need to think outside-the-box when it comes to marketing to potential viewers. And he appears to mean it; certainly a paper-thin video player embedded in the pages of a magazine meets the definition of ‘outside-the-box‘.

Financial terms of the Entertainment Weekly video player ad have not been disclosed; as AdAge points out, this
probably wasn’t an inexpensive undertaking, hence the focus on the New
York and Los Angeles markets only.

So are high-tech ads that bring a dose of interactivity to the pages of magazines part of print advertising’s future? AdAge notes that “many magazines have increased their use of gimmicky inserts that feature
flashing lights, DVDs and CDs, and voice chips
“.

Interactive print ads seem like they could be an increasingly useful tool for magazines hoping to stem widespread declines in print revenue. For advertisers, such ads offer the promise of the kinds of high-impact experiences that are so commonplace online within the pages of a magazine. Yet there are some limitations, the biggest being the aforementioned cost. According to AdAge, some of the most sophisticated interactive ads can cost advertisers millions of dollars. That’s a tough pill to swallow.

Whether these ads are eventually judged to be high-tech Mona Lisas or useful marketing tools will depend on advertisers being able to prove out their efficacy and cost-effectiveness. In the meantime, they serve as a cool reminder that the most interesting interactive technologies aren’t always being developed online.

Photo credit: Howdy, I’m H. Michael Karshis via Flickr.