Recent eye-catching ads play with format, space

By Lewis Boulton


London, United Kingdom


I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: The fact I’m able to spend time looking for great advertising to share is something I’ve always enjoyed about my job.

Whether it’s exhibiting the very best of advertising in news brands at our Newsworks Awards or looking out for material for our weekly stand-out ad galleries, it’s a joy to stumble across something that raises an inquisitive eyebrow, makes me chuckle, or has me gesticulating at my screen to a bemused colleague.

But with brilliantly eye-catching campaigns making our galleries every week, what makes an ad truly stand out in 2023?

Witty contextual ads and stunning visuals will always get a thumbs up from me, but in an unbelievably competitive market for consumers’ attention, how can advertisers cut through with innovations that make readers take notice? Where might brands be able to go the extra mile?

These past few months, I’ve been struck by brands’ capacity to lean more into making the most of format. On the printed page or the Web page, the campaigns really capturing my interest are those using the space they find themselves in to surprise, inform, and entertain, subverting readers’ expectations and inviting them to participate.

Here are just five recent examples of stand-out ads making medium part of the message.


It’s all well and good launching a new campaign to show off your brand’s new homeware collection, but why stop at just an image? Whether it’s a single piece catching readers’ eyes or they want to buy the entire room, this active wrap allows customers to find exactly what they’re looking for without leaving the page.


Showing off a whole array of products in one ad doesn’t have be a digital innovation. This double-page spread from Lidl makes the most of the space to help readers make their pounds stretch further for a whole week, without sacrificing on taste or quality. What’s for dinner tonight — zingy, crunchy, or creamy?

Vueling Airlines

This campaign takes advantage of everyday technological features we take for granted to give readers a taste of what they might be missing. By using the brightness tool on our laptops and phones and translating that into what it might be like to touch down in sunny Spain right now, Vueling’s digital wrap adds a bit of extra light to those short January days.

Link Logo Game

When it comes to getting the newest party game for the big Christmas family gathering, it can be hit and miss knowing if the latest parlour game fad is up to snuff. This campaign from the makers of the much-loved Logo Game gives curious readers a taste of what to expect by offering up a brainteaser right on the page.

John Lewis

And finally, keeping with the Christmas cheer, this beautiful double-page spread from the masters of festive ad campaigns only gets better when readers realise it’s also a double fold-out ad into broadsheet size. Once opened, the department store’s experts give tips for the entire family’s holiday trip to John Lewis — from gifts to grottos.

About Lewis Boulton

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