BMW glows with Vice

Now you see it, now you don't.

Now you see it, now you don’t.

Whitby, Ont.-based BMW Canada has found a way to sneak an ad onto the cover of the April issue of Vice magazine. At first glance, it looks like any other cover. But when the lights go out, a glow-in-the-dark ad for the BMW 1 Series appears, with the 1 appearing where the ‘I’ in Vice usually does.

‘The media strategy for the 1 Series is all about short, intense experiences,’ explains Esme Rottschafer, group account director at Toronto-based The Media Company. ‘We knew [the cover ad] would be tough to do, but it was an innovative one-off that fit beautifully with the strategy.’

While typical Vice readers aren’t a perfect match for the 1 Series target

(25- to 34-year-old ambitious ‘leaders-in-the-making’), they do tend to be influential early adopters who are good at creating buzz.

‘The chance to work with one of the top brands in the world meant we had to step up and bring something that, to my knowledge, has never been done before,’ says Shawn Phelan, director of sales at Vice’s Toronto office. ‘Maintaining the integrity of our cover – which is not usually for sale – while delivering a unique and rad brand message for BMW was an amazing challenge.’

The glow-in-the-dark ad, which is appearing on the cover of Vice’s entire Canadian print run, wasn’t easy to make. Vice had to print the covers at one plant, ship them to another to add the glow-in-the-dark treatment, UV coat them once they were cured, then ship them back to the original plant to bind them to the rest of the mag. Toronto-based Cundari handled the creative.