It’s a UK first and may be the future of print advertising. Open a limited edition copy of Marie Claire’s October issue at page 35 and you can enjoy passion and betrayal against a Sicilian backdrop, directed by Mario Testino, in black and white, complete with soundtrack – and all in just forty five seconds. Marie Claire is blazing the trail for video advertising in print with advert for Dolce and Gabbana’s Pour Femme and Pour Homme fragrances, produced by Procter and Gamble. Marie Claire’s publishing director Justine Southall, speaking in The Guardian, likened the insertion of the advert in the magazine to putting a ‘golden ticket in a Wonka Bar’ and considers that the intrigue around this new advent for print advertising can only be a positive move against waning interest in traditional print ads in a digital age. The video nicely continues the theme of D&G’s Italian Family campaign, which features Monica Belucci among others in short, stylish films celebrating la dolce vita.

The company responsible for the technology behind the ‘invisible’ paper-thin screen is Americhip. Its ‘video-in-print’ technology was launched in 2009 and has since been used to advertise Bacardi in Russia and by CBS in the US. The screen is made with a product similar to TFT LCD, the technology used to make laptop computer and mobile phone screens.

 This hybrid form of advertising is likely to take off in virtually every field, be it to heighten aesthetics or communicate information more effectively. Crucially, the development could broaden the choices for advertisers from a legal perspective as well, since video in print ads would not constitute a broadcast under the UK advertising codes. Therefore, if Clearcast were to refuse to clear a TV ad for one reason or another, shifting the format to print could be an option for advertisers, just as they currently have the option of running such ads online.

The major obstacle for this form of advertising is, of course, cost. In this case, the cost was swallowed up by the advertiser, with no increase to the cover price of the magazine. The assumption is that the cost of the technology will reduce over time, meaning that it may be an increasingly viable option in the future. However, this particular medium presents a new challenge for print, since as the cost comes down over time, there could be a risk of overuse and the compromise of one of the few media where control of exposure still reigns. The key may be ‘less is more’ to enable brands to continue to distinguish themselves. D&G are getting the best of their opportune timing, since the ‘golden ticket’ factor and the exclusivity of the technology is still a principal selling point. Watch this space…