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Flicking through my morning paper, its clear to see that the online overlay ad format has influenced Nissan in its campaign to drive awareness of it new model.

Nissan's doodle ad (as seen in TimeOut, rather than Metro)

Anyone who picked up a copy of the free London Metro this morning may have noticed the ad on page 40 and 41 for the Nissan Qashqai (the above example comes from TimeOut, although the ad is the same).

Instead of the typical quarter or half page format, Nissan (or more likely its ad agency) have worked with the paper to develop a more interesting page layout.

The ad is for the Nissan’s small 4x4 and carries the strap line “Get the most out of any urban drama”.

Positioned on the Cinema and Theatre listings pages of the newspaper, the design uses child-like drawings depicting a film set with director, actors and lighting.

It is clear to see the overlay format on the web has influenced this newspaper ad, with the cartoon drawings partially covering the content of the page and a sign-off box in the bottom right.

The design and strap line have been well thought out for the position, and the ad certainly attracted my attention.

On the web, this ad format usually contains animation or video, covering part of the content with the option for the user to click to close the ad.

Some readers may find this format annoying, especially if trying to study the theatre listing times in the newspaper, but you cannot knock the innovative approach.

Already this year we have seen how powerful the Cadbury’s Gorilla TV ad was at developing word-of-mouth and viral distribution via the web.

The TV ad on YouTube has been watched by over 1.8m people, with hundreds of spoof versions created by people at home. Brand engagement like this is invaluable.

Advertisers are increasingly looking for ways to attract the user's attention. I am sure we will see further influence from effective online ad formats appearing in print, outdoor and TV.

Matthew Finch - view blog

Matthew Finch

Published 5 March, 2008 by Matthew Finch

25 more posts from this author

Comments (5)


Sam B

Nissan are presumably counting on the assumption that most people flick straight through the theatre listings on their way to the idiotbox schedules. They'll see the ad and think 'cool' - the number of people who actually want to read the pages and think 'who do Nissan think they are' will be too small to matter.

Put it this way, this isn't something we'll be seeing on page 2/3 or the sports pages - not on any paper that will get read for long anyway. And it would also be difficult to get away with this for non-free papers - with Metro you can't say 'I paid good money for this paper and I expect to be able to read it'.

(P.S. Your captcha is doing a pretty good job - this is my sixth try at posting this. The last one managed to completely hide one of the six letters behind the others. But I think I've finally got something readable here.)

about 9 years ago


Sam B

It took me nine goes to beat the captcha in the end. After getting two 'wrong' that couldn't possibly have been misread, I worked out that even though the letters are displayed in capitals, you have to type them in lowercase. Silly me, how obvious.

about 9 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

Hi Sam, sorry about the captcha - it is driving everybody nuts. We are changing it, promise. And we have a brand new site in the pipeline, which will be much, much better. ETA is sometime around June/July. Thanks for persevering.

This ad does stand out a little in print but like you I don't think this sort of thing would make it onto the popular pages. Anyway, I pretty much think all overlays suck, no exceptions.


about 9 years ago


Ben Cordle, Senior Marketing Manager at Time Out

Surely thats Time Out not Metro!!!

about 9 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

It is Alexis! Thanks for the pointer - I've hopefully cleared this up in the article. Same ad, different publication, as we should have pointed out.



about 9 years ago

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