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Magazine Embeds Glow-in-the-Dark Ad on Cover

BMW’s Vice cover appears to be an industry first.

By Dylan Stableford

It’s not embedded Swarovski crystals or shameless Nike plugs, but Vice—the irreverent free glossy with 14 international editions based in New York—has figured out a new way to sneak an advertiser’s product onto its cover: glow-in-the-dark ink.

The magazine’s Canadian edition is running an ad for BMW 1 Series—visible only in the dark—on the cover of its latest issue. The ad appears on the magazine’s entire print run—some 55,000 copies.

Vice publisher Erik Lavoie wrote in an e-mail to FOLIO: that “there are no plans as yet” to run a similar ad in the U.S. version.

"Maintaining the integrity of our cover—which is not usually for sale—while delivering a unique and rad brand message for BMW was an amazing challenge,” Shawn Phelan, director of sales and marketing at Vice's Toronto office, told Strategy, a Canadian marketing magazine, last week.

That’s because e glow-in-the-dark ad is a something of a production department nightmare. According to Phelan, the magazine had to print its covers at one plant; ship them to another to add the glow-in-the-dark ink, a UV coat; then back to the original plant for binding.

Vice plans to launch a handful of international editions this year, including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Poland and Greece.

For its part, BMW is running an ASME guidelines-pushing cover-wrap on the May issue of Paste, too.

By Dylan Stableford


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