Alice in Wonderland, Front Page of LA Times
“A garishly multicolored image of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, in the film ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ occupies most of the paper’s cover page, superimposed over what looks like the usual, sober front page. Above him is the ‘Los Angeles Times’ banner, and bracketing his face are actual, recent articles.”
According to a spokesman for the LA Times, the idea was inspired by online advertising formats and motivated by the extraordinarily tough times in the print newspaper business.
“Ads that completely cover a publication’s front page, or are made to look like part of it — or both — are not unusual for trade magazines and some tabloid newspapers, but broadsheets have generally shunned them. But Mr. Conroy [of the LA Times] noted that however unorthodox the ad may be for print, it mirrors a common practice online of having an ad cover part or all of a Web site’s home page for a few seconds.”
Last April the LA Times ran a front page ad for NBC series “Southland” that took a different approach. The above ad for “Alice in Wonderland” is more interruptive (“garish,” as the NYT calls it), but it’s quite clearly an advertisement. The below ad integration for “Southland” takes the format of a regular news story in the paper, with headline graphics that identify it as an ad — not unlike paid search ads at Google, Digg Ads at Digg, or sponsored stories at the Huffington Post or Daily Beast.
Which is a better direction: Invasive ads that you can’t miss, but require you to navigate around them to get to your news? Or ads that convey a brand’s message in a format that is native to the medium, but you might accidentally read the content without first noticing it’s an ad?