Chevy Runs Digital Video Ads in Print (Yes, You Read That Right)

The Unit, Running in Esquire and Popular Mechanics, 'Is Obviously Expensive'

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Here's something you don't see every day: Chevrolet bought print ads to show off its digital videos.

The ad, which promotes Chevy's Colorado truck, appears in the May issue of certain subscriber issues of Esquire and Popular Mechanics. And it allows readers to watch one of three short videos, which were created by Chevy's creative agency Commonwealth//McCann.

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Some 10,000 subscribers each to Esquire and Popular Mechanics -- those considered likely Colorado buyers -- received copies with a video player embedded inside the print page.

"We had these awesome digital films that we created for the Colorado launch and we thought, why not ... put video in print," said Jill Mida, manager-Chevrolet Truck Advertising.

Chevy "leveraged all of Hearst's consumer data" to determine which 20,000 readers fit the profile of a Colorado buyer and should receive the ad, according to Ms. Mida.

She wouldn't disclose how much the ad cost, but did say, "the unit is obviously expensive."

The video-in-print ads are one part of Chevy's marketing push around the Colorado. Print ads for the Colorado (that don't include video) are also running in Men's Health, Sports Illustrated, Backpacker, Surfer, Bike and Dirt Rider magazines. It's already run TV commercials as well as digital ads.

This isn't the first time a magazine has put video in print. Back in 2009, Entertainment Weekly, which is owned by Time Inc., used Americhip to put a video ad for CBS in a print issue. That ad showed off CBS's fall lineup.

Executives at Hearst, owner of Esquire and Popular Mechanics, said the idea for putting video in print sprang from a meeting in which they discussed promoting the videos on their magazines' websites.

"But we got to talking further about having it run" in the magazine, according to Jack Essig, publisher director and chief revenue at Hearst Men's Group. "We're always looking for innovative ways for print to come alive. This was one of those aha moments."

A company called Americhip created the technology that allows the videos to play in print.

Esquire has carved out a reputation for trying new technologies in the print and the digital spaces. Under Editor-in-Chief David Granger, the magazine has experimented with so-called electronic paper as well as a weekly tablet edition and paywalls around certain articles.

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