Blank Ad in the New York Times

Words Are Life - The Book Thief New York Times Ad

Something we always talked about when I was at university studying advertising was how to get clients to agree to run very simple ads. The problem being that clients want to feel like they have got their money’s worth and if you present them with a white page with simple black text on, they are going to think their agency hasn’t put any effort in, regardless of how clever and engaging that text might be.

So this ad, which ran the New York Times this week, seems like a big risk – it’s two completely blank pages, with a small URL at the bottom of one:

Words Are Life - The Book Thief New York Times Ad

The URL is which redirects to - a website promoting a new movie with the same name.

Obviously the blank ad is very relevant to to the film’s plot, where a girl learns to read and steals books from a book-burning in Nazi Germany, but it’s still interesting that this kind of ad was chosen over a ‘normal’ ad, like an image from the movie or snippets of reviews.

I can just see my old lecturers having a field day over this in their lessons :)

You can watch the trailer for The Book Thief here:

Thanks to Adweek for the story.

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  1. Hi Kate.
    I’m Julie.
    The one at fox responsible for the blank ad’s in the NYT.
    And you’re right. We normally like to populate the space we buy with pretty photo’s and brilliant quotes by film critic’s. But for this film – for this beautiful, powerful film, it deserved something special. In the entertainment business – we’re storytellers – we sell emotions. We want you feel something. That is exactly what I wanted this ad to do. For just a moment – to feel what the world would be like without words. Simple idea. Simple execution. Could only happen with, well, nothing.
    Thank you for noticing our ad. And I hope you see the film. She’s a beauty. Inspired me to do something very daring.


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