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The CW Television Network is promoting its fall lineup with a first-of-its kind print insert in the latest edition of Entertainment Weekly. The insert contains a small LCD screen that features looping video and the six latest tweets from @CW_Network beneath the words, "Follow Us Now." It appears in 1,000 copies distributed across New York and Los Angeles.
"We're always trying to look at things that are first to market, that are really going to let people know that we are a digital network and that digital media is part of our DNA," Rick Haskins, executive vice president of marketing and digital programs at the CW, said in a phone interview. The network's media agency, OMD, pitched the idea to CW, and then Twitter was brought on board to help execute it.
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Per Haskins' description, the ad is powered by a custom-built, smartphone-like Android device with an LED screen and 3G connectivity; it was manufactured in China. He wasn't able to specify the processor, but based on load times, we'll just say it's pretty elementary. The device is enclosed in two thick, stiff sheets inside EW.
Since the ad is Internet-connected, I was curious if the CW would be able to track any metrics around impressions and display time, but Haskins said no. Instead, he and his team will monitor for increased activity on Twitter, as fans angle to get their tweets re-tweeted, and thus appear in the magazine.
The ad is less about boosting the CW's Twitter following than about "solidifying CW as a leader in digital and social thinking and execution," Haskins said. In other words, it's a branding campaign, both on the consumer and trade level.
"It's important advertisers know they can come to us when they want to do something that's new, that's never been done before," Haskins added.
Although this is the first time a live Twitter feed has appeared in a print ad, it isn't the first time a video has appeared in a print magazine, or even EW. Three years ago, the title ran a video ad for Pepsi in 50,000 copies distributed across New York and L.A. A 45-second video ad for Dolce & Gabanna also appears in the UK edition of Marie Claire this month.
Check out the video above to watch the cover in action.
This story originally published on Mashable here.