10 Magazine Ads That Don’t Just Sit There Looking Pretty

Print gets interactive

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Magazine advertising looks increasingly quaint these days in the ever-more-flashy world of social, mobile, TV and cinema. But some print ads aren't just sitting there looking foolish. They're mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore. Below, check out 10 print ads that have more to offer than good looks and great copy.

  1. The Airbag Ad

    Hit the front end of the Peugot on the opening page, and an actual airbag inflates on the spread inside. Ad agency Loducca made 50,000 of these things for a Brazilian magazine.

  2. The Talking Ad

    QR codes got dictators talking in a recent print ads from the free-press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders. You scan the QR code with your iPhone, then place the phone over the leader's mouth. The mouth starts talking—but it's the voice of a journalist discussing media censorship in that country.

  3. The Solar-Powered Ad

    This print ad promoted green energy by being solar-powered itself. In the magazine, it's just a black-and-white sketch. But held up to sunlight, it blossoms into full color.

  4. The Bottle-Opener Ad

    Follow the instructions on this ad, and you can use the flimsy piece of paper to open a bottle of Carlsberg. Useful!

  5. The Edible Ad

    Volkswagen cooked up a lovely little ad you can eat, and placed it in Auto Trader magazine. The ingredients are listed on the side as "glutinous rice flour, water, salt, propylene glycol, FD&C colour, glycerine." OK, kind of gross.

  6. The Bra-Tightening Ad

    This Wonderbra ad lets you do a little imprompu boob cinching—a nice little pick-me-up when you're in the middle of a boring article.

  7. The Bubble-Gum Ad

    Simple and fun.

  8. The Test-Drive Ad

    This Norwegian ad for Volkswagen showed a long stretch of road (in summer and winter versions) and told readers to download an app that lets you "drive" a car on the road by hovering your iPhone over it. You could test three different features of the vehicle—lane assist, adaptive lights and cruise control.

  9. The Sunbather's Ad

    Just what you need—a suntan-lotion ad that comes with a handy way to completely cook your face off.

  10. The Sticky Ad

    A fertility clinic in Australia placed an ad in FHM that caused the magazine's pages to stick together. When unstuck, the pages revealed a woman posing in lingerie, along with the line, "Don't waste your sperm." The message being—donate it at the Repromed fertility clinic instead.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.