For EW, Video Ad Play’s a ‘Snap’

Magazines have tried to bring their pages to life with “snappable” icons that serve up ad offers or extra editorial content to mobile users, but reader response is often low.
Entertainment Weekly is hoping to do better with its upcoming summer movie preview issue, though. The April 23 issue will let readers view the trailers of 20 films by snapping or scanning a 2-D Microsoft bar code with a smartphone. They’ll then be directed to YouTube, where the trailers reside. Five advertisers, including HBO, Absolut and Honda, are running snappable ads in the issue.   
Others such as Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Woman’s Day and Conde Nast’s Golf Digest have used such tags to link readers with videos. But EW believes it’s the first to run edit content from a third party.
Perhaps more important, EW hopes the movie preview issue will drive more response than its previous interactive efforts. When it used a different vendor, EW got 5,000 “snaps” on average of its interactive ads, a tiny portion of its 10 million-plus readers.
EW publisher Ray Chelstowski said that the Microsoft bar codes are easy to use and that there are a lot of them in the issue, which should boost the response rate.
“It’s going to be interesting, because there are going to be so many more access points,” he said. “I do think the numbers are going to go up.”
While snappable ads may run counter to the idea of magazines being a lean-back read, he also hopes readers will be inclined to repeatedly click on the icons to share trailers with others, thereby driving up response rates.
Of course, consumers can just hit replay on their smartphones, but EW hopes they’ll resnap the ad itself.
CTAM, the marketing co-op that produces Movies on Demand, and one of the five advertisers running interactive ads in the issue, was drawn to the concept because its customer base is technology oriented. “We do see they’re viewing movie trailers on their mobiles,” said Char Beales, president, chief executive officer, CTAM.
EW also is putting some measurement muscle behind the technology, which it expects to use in future issues. It plans to provide advertisers with data from third-party service AdMeasure indicating how many people responded to the bar-coded ads and editorial.