Thanks to mobile, the line separating digital and print is continuing to blur. Entertainment Weekly recently included smartphone technology in 1,000 special versions of its October 5 print edition. The technology supports "one-of-a-kind" digital ads for the CW network's new action shows The Arrow and Emily Owens, M.D. Video clips of the shows followed by relevant, real-time tweets are displayed to readers, adding a novel level of variability to once static print magazines.
The smartphone hardware powering these ads runs on Android. It also has an LED screen, a live USB port, boasts 3G connectivity, a camera and full QWERTY keyboard. Hacks on the device have let curious techies take blurry photos (the device has no camera lens) and even make phone calls.
This execution not only shows the possibilities for 2D ads moving forward, but also demonstrates the infiltration of smartphone technology into the mainstream. Expect to see advertisers applying this method of connectivity to out-of-home ad spaces such as bus shelters, posters and signs. Print and out-of-home ads will also become tailored to the context in which they are read. These placements have the potential to know where viewers are on the map, the weather there, whether or not they're on-the-go, the time of day, elevation and more.
As smartphone prices continue to drop, we'll likely begin to see an increase in sophistication of these connected print ads. One day, your next magazine purchase could be your next mobile phone purchase too.