Mysterious Blank Pages in New York Times

On October 23rd, The New York Times confused readers by printing two blank pages that included nothing but the page number, the issue date, and a small printed URL for the page wordsarelife.com. These blank pages left readers wondering if this was a printing error or if it was intentional.

The Mystery Behind the Blank Pages Revealed:

It turns out that the blank pages were actually an advertisement for 20th Century Fox’s upcoming movie, “The Book Theif.” The intention of the publicity team was that this advertisement would to convey the importance of written words. They wanted their viewers to image a world without words and to imagine what it would be like if you went to open up your newspaper and it was completely blank. The point of the ads, says 20th Century Fox Exec VP-Media Julie Rieger, is to recreate the experience of the main character for those who see it.

blank pages

“The Book Thief,” is based on the book written by Markus Zusak. The film stars Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush, and Sophie Nélisse. The movie takes place in Germany during World War II and tells the story of a young girl, played by Sophie Nélisse, who finds comfort by stealing books and sharing them with others. Meanwhile, her adoptive parents are sheltering a Jewish refuge under the stairs in their home. The movie is scheduled to be released November 8th.

The cost of running a full page advertisement in the New York Times on a weekday is around $105,840, according to Adage. So was this money worth it? Apparently, it was. This advertising strategy has demonstrated to be a huge success for 2oth Century Fox. It has generated an undeniable buzz, which has sparked many newspaper articles and social media conversations. While most films no longer use newspapers as a vehicle to reach their audience, this unconventional approach demonstrates that traditional media can still prove to be useful and successful.