BMW glows with Vice

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 The Media Company, adding that Cundari developed the creative for the ad (both Toronto-based). ‘We knew [this process] would be tough to do, but it was an innovative one-off that fit beautifully with the strategy.’

While typical Vice readers aren’t an ideal match for the 1 Series target (25-34 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 & marketing 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. The magazine had to print its covers at one plant, ship them to another to add the glow-in-the-dark treatment, UV coat them once they’d cured, and then ship them back to the original plant for binding to the rest of the mag.