Magazine Advertising 2.0: Non-Traditional Ways to Re-Invent a Traditional Favorite


Magazine advertising has long been a popular method for brands to reach their target audience. With the growth of digital strategies and advancement in magazine print and production, there are tremendous opportunities to reach beyond a traditional ad placement and engage with a reader in a new and unique way. To capture readers' attention and make a lasting impact, brands have amazing opportunities to explore more creative and multi-dimensional approaches.

In this blog, we'll share some inspiration and tips for rethinking traditional magazine advertising and elevating your campaign to something fun, creative, and memorable. From augmented reality and interactive ads to experiential campaigns and branded content, we'll explore a range of ideas to help you take your magazine advertising to the next level. 

Interactive Ads with AR Technology

Create an interactive ad that uses augmented reality technology to offer a unique, immersive experience to readers. This can be done by providing readers with a QR code or other digital trigger that unlocks a 3D or animated experience when scanned. Example: Ikea's AR-powered ad in a magazine, which allowed readers to place virtual furniture in their homes.

Branded Content

Rather than a traditional ad, consider creating custom content that is relevant to your brand and engaging to your target audience. This can take the form of sponsored articles, product reviews, or even editorial-style features that highlight your brand in a subtle way. Example: A sponsored article in a fitness magazine by a sports drink company that offers tips for staying hydrated during workouts. 


Video Ads/Animation

Incorporate video or animation into your print ads by using a QR code or other trigger that directs readers to a branded video. Consider creating a short video, animation, or gif that showcases key features of your product or service in action, or tells a story that resonates with your target audience. Example: A skincare brand's ad in a magazine that included a QR code that directed readers to a branded video demonstrating how to use their product. 

Fold-Out Ads

Consider using a gatefold or other fold-out design to create a larger canvas for your ad. This allows you to incorporate more images or information in a single ad, making it more impactful and memorable. Example: A car manufacturer's gatefold ad in a magazine that featured a panoramic image of their latest vehicle model.

Inserts and Samples

Include a product sample or insert with your ad to give readers a hands-on experience with your product. This can be a great way to drive trial and build awareness. Example: A beauty brand's ad in a magazine that included a sample of their new lipstick shade or a grocery store that includes a recipe featuring their products.

Social Media Integration

Incorporate social media into your ads by including hashtags or social handles that encourage readers to engage with your brand online. You can also offer special promotions or discounts to readers who follow you on social media. Example: A fashion brand's ad in a magazine that included a hashtag encouraging readers to share photos of themselves wearing the brand's clothing on Instagram.

a social media marketing strategy that actually works ebook


Use data-driven targeting to create personalized ads that are tailored to specific reader interests and behaviors. This can help ensure that your ad resonates with your target audience and drives better results. Example: A travel company's ad in a magazine that used data-driven targeting to show readers personalized offers for destinations they had previously expressed interest in.


Incorporate game elements into your ads to create a more interactive and engaging experience. This can include puzzles, quizzes, or other challenges that reward readers for engaging with your brand. Example: A food brand's ad in a magazine that included a crossword puzzle featuring ingredients used in their recipes, with a chance to win a prize for completing it.


Create a dedicated microsite for your ad that offers readers additional information, resources, or exclusive content. This can help drive deeper engagement and encourage readers to take action. Example: A technology brand's ad in a magazine that included a QR code directing readers to a microsite with additional information and resources about their product.

Native Advertising/Advertorial

Create ads that blend seamlessly into the editorial content of the magazine, offering a more subtle and organic way to promote your brand. This can be done by creating sponsored content that matches the tone and style of the magazine's editorial content. Example: A fashion brand's sponsored content in a magazine, written in a similar style as the magazine's editorial content and featuring their latest collection.

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Digital Editions

With the growth of digital media, many magazines now offer online versions of their publications. This presents a unique opportunity for advertisers to create more engaging and interactive ads that incorporate video, animations, and other multimedia elements. By taking advantage of these digital magazine options, brands can reach a wider audience and create more dynamic and memorable ads.

Read Inside Columbia Magazine's Digital Edition!

The Power of Omni-Channel Marketing

In today’s digital world, a magazine can be so much more than a one-dimensional marketing tool. By integrating the different facets of your campaign into one seamless promotional strategy, you take your results to new levels. Most likely, your magazine advertising is working alongside your other strategies: social media, digital, video, radio, etc. Looking at your magazine campaign in a fresh way gives you the ability to tie all these channels together seamlessly. 

In today's fast-paced and ever-changing media landscape, it's more important than ever for brands to think outside the box when it comes to advertising. By incorporating new technologies, creating personalized content, and finding unique ways to engage your audience, you can make your magazine ads more effective and memorable. By re-inventing your approach to magazine advertising, you can stay ahead of the curve and build stronger connections with your target audience. 

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