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"The Book Thief" Wants You To Imagine A World Without Words, Starting With The New York Times

The new film, set in Holocaust-era Germany, stressed the power of words by buying two blank pages in the New York Times.

As visuals go, it’s not the most mind-blowing advertisement you’ve ever seen—but the image of two consecutive blank pages of the New York Times, purchased to promote Fox’s upcoming film The Book Thief, is striking nonetheless.

New York Times - Pages A9 & A10

The pages aren’t entirely blank—the Times’ name, along with the date and page numbers (A9 and A10) appear on the top of each page. According to Deadline, the two full-page ads had to be approved by the Times’ advertising standards team, which commented that “the underlying message of the advertising campaign, "Imagine a World Without Words," echoes the film’s narrative.” As far as putting the name, date, and page numbers at the top, making the pages look like editorial pages of the paper, there was no issue: “Like with any full-page advertisement, both pages feature the Times header, which includes the Times logo, date, and page number,” a spokesperson told the Poynter Institute.

The bottom of the second page included the URL for the movie’s website, wordsarelife.com, which features actual images of the Holocaust-set film in which a young woman steals books to share with others—during a time in which books were being routinely burned in the streets.

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