Like the ShamWow guy, magazine publishers are looking to soak up as much revenue as physically possible these days. And, since many are increasingly OK with ads on covers (46 percent, according to our recent poll, think they’re a “legitimate business opportunity”), more are looking to that piece of once-virgin real estate. But, since there is still a majority (51 percent, according to the poll) of publishers not OK with ads on covers, some are doing it discreetly.

First there was Vice—which used glow in the dark ink to display an ad for BMW on its cover. Then there was Esquire, which used a cover window and perforations to crowbar marketing (for the Discovery and History Channels, respectively) onto its covers. (Well played, David Granger, well played.)

Now comes Popular Science, which has published an “interactive 3D cover”—the industry’s “first-ever augmented-reality magazine cover,” PopSci said—that allows readers to log onto the magazine’s Web site and interact with an animated hologram.

The 3D hologram was provided by GE, which occupies three ad pages in the issue. Pop Sci told the New York Times recently that it didn’t charge GE for the hologram placement.

My only question: Why the hell not? If you’re going to go that far, why not go all the way? (What’s more offensive? A publisher that sells an ad on its cover? Or a publisher who gives its cover away to an advertiser for free?)

As the technology gets better, recovery of the ad economy stalls and publishers—not to mention the public—get increasingly comfortable with cover clear-cutting, expect to see much more of this.

As Pop Sci says, the future is now.

Native Advertising: Delivering for Partners While Retaining Your Brand Voice
Check out this related session at The Folio: Show, November 1-2 in NYC!

Editors have become a key part of the native-advertising conversation, as many successful media brands generate custom content for their…