This Crazy Ad Replaced Every Black Dot in an Entire Magazine With a Colored Dot

Elaborate media stunt promotes … better cell service?

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Print advertising isn’t dead. In fact, it’s more insidious than ever!

In a rather bonkers stunt, Irish telecom eir replaced all the black dots in the Oct. 6 issue of Daily Mail Magazine with colored dots. And it was every dot—every period, every dot in a colon and semi-colon; every dot above a letter i or j (technically known as tittles—you learn something new every day).

The insanely detailed, magazine-wide stunt was explained with a full-page ad that ran in the back of the magazine. The point of all the colored dots? To suggest that eir can help you eliminate “black spots” in your home or office where your mobile signal is weak.

“No more black spots,” says the headline on the ad, which elaborates:

At eir, we don’t like black spots. Which is why we’ve gotten rid of them in this magazine. And we can get rid of them in your home and office too with WiFi Calling, exclusive from eir. Just enable Wifi Calling on your mobile phone and you will be automatically connected to any WiFi network, so you can still make mobile calls whenever you have weak signal.

The elaborate stunt was orchestrated by ad agency Rothco.

The agency tells us: “The idea was original, had never been done before and would really show innovation in a very traditional media space. The question was, how on earth would we convince a newspaper to do it with us? After a lot of no’s, it was starting to looking less and less likely. Nevertheless, we kept bringing it up, kept presenting it at creative meetings, and kept looking for new partners to make it happen. Eventually we got in front of the Daily Mail with the idea, and they immediately loved it. After a little bit of back and forth, and one very long evening at the Daily Mail layout desk, the idea came to life.”

“eir had a really unique product, that was perhaps a little bit complex to explain,” says Rothco creative director Stephen Rogers. “So, we created a really simple analogy for what WiFi Calling actually does—eliminates black spots. Once we had this, we pushed ourselves to bring this to life in the most surprising way we could.”

Adds creative director Shane O’Brien: “We should also probably apologize to the designers at the Daily Mail, who had to sit up all night combing through the entire magazine replacing black dots, one by one.”

Client: eir
Group Marketing Director: Henry Dummer
Head of Brand and Marketing: Oisin Masterson
Agency: Rothco
Executive Creative Director: Alan Kelly
Creative Director: Shane O’Brien
Creative Director: Stephen Rogers
Copywriter: Lucas Guratti
Art Director: André Maia
Head of Studio: David Gallagher
Finished Artist: Mickey Hughes
Agency Producer: Al Byrnes
Managing Director: Richard Carr
Head of Account Management: Miriam Hendrick
Account Director: Sarah McGann
Project Director: Ailbhe Beirne
Strategy: Tara Finnegan

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