New Moto X ad lets you change the color on a printed page

A remarkable new advertisement for the Moto X smartphone in the January issue of Wired brings interactivity to the print medium.

Nick Statt Former Staff Reporter / News
Nick Statt was a staff reporter for CNET News covering Microsoft, gaming, and technology you sometimes wear. He previously wrote for ReadWrite, was a news associate at the social-news app Flipboard, and his work has appeared in Popular Science and Newsweek. When not complaining about Bay Area bagel quality, he can be found spending a questionable amount of time contemplating his relationship with video games.
Nick Statt
2 min read
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Motorola has gone to great lengths to market its flagship Moto X smartphone as not the most powerful device, but one that a user can tailor to his or her tastes down to the color of the camera ring. To take that customizability message even further, the company infused a low-tech environment with a hi-tech concept in the form of an interactive ad in the pages of Wired magazine.

The trick is pulled off using a piece of plexiglass inside a page of polycarbonate paper, LEDs, a handful of lithium batteries, and some smart circuitry. The end result is a only slightly bulkier-than-normal page sandwiched in the middle of Wired's January print issue. Buttons along the bottom of the page let you toggle between 11 different colors of an image of the Moto X's backplate with the touch of a finger. The issue will only be going out to some 153,000 subscribers in the New York and Chicago metro areas, but it can also be picked up on newsstands in those metropolises.

Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET

Motorola has been on an ad blitz since the release of the Moto X in August, splashing its multi-colored device in magazines, television screens, and Web site home pages everywhere. And the Wired ad isn't the first time the Google-owned company has playfully brought the Moto X's customizability offscreen. It installed display advertisements at bus stops that would recognize the clothing of someone standing in front of it and change the smartphone image on the display accordingly, reported Ad Age.

Despite the audacious ad efforts around it, the Moto X hasn't come close in sales -- selling only 500,000 units in the third quarter -- compared with massively successful competitors like Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Apple's iPhone 5S that have racked up millions of devices sold in the same time frame. Motorola has gone so far as to work with Verizon to slash the price of the Moto X down to $50, and has brought the price down across all carriers to $100 from $200 with a two-year contract.

Still, regardless of its inability to push units, you can't help but commend Motorola on its ingenuity when it comes to eye-popping marketing. Check out the Wired ad in action below: