Magazine’s Messiah: Esquire debuts digital display cover in 75th anniversary issue cover

In 2004 the Magazine Publishers of America released a few ads that promoted magazines as timeless: a futuristic setting where a woman is seen relaxing with a magazine, in a bathtub suspended in air. Looking for an image of the print ad (and not finding one), I found this

The association is also currently running a series of ads about the “quiet power of magazines.” “In this ‘age of interruption’ where we are constantly confronted by pop-up ads on the Web, magazines are an oasis of calm where readers can really get involved in both the features and the advertising in the magazines they love,” Mr. Polskin said. [Howard Polskin, the vice president of communications for the MPA] (full article here)

Esquire magazine is saying, “to hell with that, we’re going digital” with their cover for the 75th anniversary issue in October. Advertising Age has the story here, the lazyproof version is here.

The simple display flashes the words “The 21st century begins now” in black and white. Open the cover to find a digital ad with minimal animation on the facing page for Ford Flex, the sponsors for the digital cover.

Esquire started planning the October issue 16 months ago and partnered with E-Ink Corp., a manufacturer of electronic paper display used in e-boook readers like the Amazon Kindle.

Interestingly, the toughest part of making this happen was the logistics management: getting the circuitry in time from China to be hand-assembled into the cover in Mexico, bound in Kentuky, and shipped around in refrigerated trucks to keep the circuitry from frying.

The Digital Kingdom might not yet have conquered the last frontier but surely it has set Vasco da Gama on sail. We’ll have to be patient to see full fledged animated videos in magazines with touch controls and what not (be prepared for a torrent of digital magazine student ads, especially with the new Creative Technology track here at the Brandcenter) but this must be the next best thing to happen to magazines after scented paper and Conde Nast.

As long as we humans don’t have to lose our potency in exchange, I’m game for a world with digital, animated advertisements on buses, sidewalks and magazines.


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