In the world of advertising, bigger is often better, but sometimes the smallest things can carry a powerful punch.
Netflix Korea has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as having devised the smallest magazine print ad ever, a 1.712 centimeter by 2.429 centimeter advertisement for the finale of “Busted” that it hopes will get both fans of the series and the actors who play its characters talking about the achievement, The ad appeared in last week’s issue of Variety.
Executives from Netflix Korea and its agency, FCA, spent weeks poring over the details of how to get such a small promotion into print, according to Arthur Chan, co-founder of the agency, which works for Netflix and Disney, among other clients. “There were hurdles, and so many times, we thought this was not going to make it,” says Chan. “But we kept persevering.”
Among the elements that had to be figured out were maintaining resolution despite the ad’s small size. Even the dimensions of the individual ink dots that made up the picture had to be considered.
Any reader who scans the ad – with their own eye or via a magnifying glass – can see seven different people as well as some illustrations behind them.
Netflix simply wanted to spark new conversation about “Busted,” a series that includes elements of both a reality show and a variety showcase that features seven Korean celebrities playing a murder mystery game. The competition includes obstacle courses and mental challenges.
The previous record for the smallest magazine print ad was a piece with an area that measured 4.6 centimeters squared.
By focusing on the finer details, Netflix Korea is playing into a bigger picture among advertisers who are trying to test new executions in print. The medium has been challenged in recent years as more consumers get their news and information from new digital sources, some of which are controlled by the same companies that were once best known for magazines or newspapers.
Last decade, the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky gained traction for placing print ads in the corners of magazine pages; in the past, that space was largely left blank by advertisers and publishers. Other advertisers have experimented with unorthodox layouts, advertorial sections and even working with printers to attach promotional ads to binding or print them on the spine of the publication.
Netflix Korea sees the ad as a chance to spur a larger celebration of the series that can take place in part on social media.