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 4×4 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