The April issue of Sharp hit newsstands today, featuring a unique advertising placement behind a partially transparent, plastic cover. Turning the page reveals an ad hidden behind the cover photo, on what would normally be the paper cover.
“We haven’t seen an execution like this in magazines before,” says the men’s magazine’s editorial and creative director Michael LaFave. “If magazines are going to compete they need to be creative.”
Representatives for Audi approached Sharp seeking “an impactful execution” for their spring marketing campaign for the S5 Cabriolet model, LaFave says. The ad agency and publisher discussed ideas and eventually decided “the cover would essentially be opaque in some areas and transparent in others and reveal an advertising position behind the opaque portion.”
Sharp locked in the cover design over a month ago and sent a template for the advertiser’s creators to work within.
LaFave expects a positive reaction from the issue and says he hopes it sends a message that Sharp is premium, successful publication that believes in magazines and “can come up with ideas that move magazine advertising forward.”
This isn’t the first time Sharp has been challenged to come up with a creative solution for advertisers. “For us, it’s exciting and it’s part of the business,” he says. “It’s great to work with companies that really believe in magazines and believe that they have the impact that they’re looking for to market today.”
Sharp decided to use 8-point thickness for the plastic, which was an important decision, he says. “We didn’t want it to be flimsy, but it still had to be foldable.”
Actually producing the issue was a challenge, he says. They printed and bound the issue as they normally would, only with an ad being printed on the paper cover. A separate sub-contractor was used to print the plastic page. Both elements were sent to another location for the cover to be glued on, then to another place to be trimmed.
Sharp is published six times per year by Toronto-based Contempo Media, with a distribution of 152,000 across Canada through The Globe and Mail, newsstands, subscriptions and Air Canada’s business-class lounges and special events.
Contempo Media also publishes Time & Style and produces custom publications for Audi and Volkswagen. It also has several online properties and produces multimedia content for Sympatico.ca.