The ads are the latest examples of advertising designed to break out by leveraging one brand to promote another -- and the creative contributions from magazine publishers that once came exclusively from ad agencies.
The ads show a man's back and chest, both covered by elaborate tattoos resembling the tattoos worn by "Prison Break" protagonist Michael Scofield. In the show's first two seasons, viewers found out that Scofield's tattoos incorporate hidden prison blueprints; in the ads, the tattoos feature the Yaris and the Toyota logo.
TV Guide produced the booklet after News Corp., which owns Fox and is the largest shareholder in the magazine's parent company, organized a corporate promotional program for the series' third season.
"As part of that, we said why not have something that's contextually connected to the show rather than just Toyota ads," said Pete Haeffner, publisher of TV Guide. "We're helping to enhance the program that's already in place. And we further enhanced it by developing this creative concept to tie into the show and the editorial booklet so that it's all contextually relevant."
The pair of ads were created by TV Guide's in-house marketing team and Toyota's agency, the Torrance, Calif., office of Saatchi & Saatchi. For extra verisimilitude, they hired Tom Berg, who designed the tattoos in "Prison Break," to create the Yaris version.