Once there were offices and homes. Then came Starbucks and with it the idea of a “third place”, a public location to hang out and work at. This was only possible because of Wi-Fi: Instead of working from your desk you could drop into a coffee shop, order a drink and pop up your laptop.

But what, if any place could become a third place, no matter if there’s a public Wi-Fi?

That’s the vision behind a project by Microsoft that gives an new meaning to “web to print”. The software giant launched a print ad that allows readers to access the internet anywhere they decide to read a magazine with the ad in it.


Marketing agency Americhip who has specialized in multichannel solutions gave readers of “Forbes” magazin instant internet access through printed paper. Together with Microsoft’s media agency Starcom, they inserted a supplement in selected copies of the magazine that created a Wi-Fi connection right on the spot.

According to Americhip, the range of this hotspot was anywhere from 6 to 10 meter. To power the device, they used high capacity lithium comparable to commercial hot spot devices. In tests, these lasted from 3 to 4 hours. However, if you wanted to keep using the connection, you could do so for 30 days with the featured data plan: The hotspot also included a mini USB plug to recharge the battery.


For this program, all devices were protected with the same password, since the wording was a key part of the campaign. However, a unique password for each device would be easily feasible.

But how much does it cost to produce such an ad? Asked by drupa blog an Americhip spokesperson kept it vague: Of course this technology cost “a bit more” than common print ads. However, one should keep in mind, that it has a specific target audience in mind.  In this case, the ad was to be ran in “Forbes” whose subscribers typically have a high overall household income.

Here’s a video that shows more of this very special third place creator: