Moving ads, Harry Potter-style, with The Straits Times' e-paper

SINGAPORE - Flip through The Straits Times electronic paper on the paper's mobile apps and you might see a car driving across the page, water flowing from a shower, or a sunset's shifting colours behind a condominium.

"The idea was inspired by the Harry Potter newspapers, where the pictures move," said Mr Jerry Siah, head of product innovation and pricing in Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) integrated marketing division, referring to the children's book series on magic.

Mr Siah worked with SPH's own IT wizards to develop and soft-launch the animated ads last year. The innovation won an award from the International News Media Association in May(2016).

Animated ads have a starring role in the property-focused supplement Property Buzz, out on Wednesday (Jan 11 ).

Eleven out of twelve advertisers in the 20-page supplement have chosen to have their ads enlivened with animation for The Straits Times' iOS and Android apps.

One of them is property developer Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group, which is using an animated ad for the second time.

"The SPH animation has helped Qingjian in branding to stay abreast of technology," said Qingjian Realty's head of sales and marketing Yen Chong.

The additional cost for animating an ad starts from $2,000 and depends on the animation's complexity.

"SPH Integrated Marketing today offers a wide swathe of advertising solutions across print, digital, radio and outdoor media, but we are also constantly looking for ways to add value to our print advertisers," said Mr Ignatius Low, head of media solutions at SPH's integrated marketing division.

"Animated ads are just one way of going beyond the two-dimensional page."

Such animation is also available for ads in the e-paper versions of The New Paper and Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao.

It has even been used for news stories in The New Paper after its relaunch - with photos of "steaming" food accompanying a review, for instance.