The most influential methods of print


In a world of viral videos, Instagram influencers, and increasingly blockbuster-style television adverts, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’ve moved on from using printed adverts. But printed adverts are every bit as powerful as they ever were. In fact, studies show that a high-quality printed advert can be powerful enough to cause false memories in consumers!

You could certainly get some memories from an Ikea advert printed earlier this year. The retailer ran an unusual advert that invited customers to urinate on it. The ad itself was printed on paper made from technology akin to a pregnancy test. If the test read positive, the customer would receive a discount on baby cribs.

There’s a certain element here of print adverts taking what is beneficial in digital ads and employing it in a physical manner. The element of interactivity that is taken for granted in digital adverts stands out in print as a new and creative spin. Being able to physically hold the item of interaction goes a long way to being remembered too! In this article, we’re joined by print management software providers United Carlton to explore some brilliant examples that show how printed adverts still capture hearts.

Useful advertising

An advert that doubles up as something useful is always a hit with customers. Nivea led the way here, with a printed advert that doubled as a wristband. The wristband could be synced with an app that allowed parents to set a perimeter. Should their child head out of this perimeter, the parent would be notified.

Functional, advertising, and promoting a great image for the brand as being one that genuinely cares, this advert ticked all the boxes.

We also saw some cracking beer adverts in print that showcased functionality and fun. Glacial’s beer ad featured salt-infused paper that, when soaked and wrapped around a bottle of beer, would help chill the beer in half the time by putting it in the freezer. And if you need to open the beer after, Carlsberg made their printed advert double up as a bottle opener!

Nodding to pop culture

Everyone loves a reference, right?

Heinz certainly does, after the company brought Mad Men’s fictional character Don Draper’s unsuccessful advertising pitch from the TV screen to real life print. The pitch in  itself is clever; the adverts show food items without the product being advertised (Heinz sauce). The idea is that its absence would be noted by the viewer, establishing Heinz products as a necessity to really complete a meal.

But the advert also works on the grounds of it being a great pop culture reference, garnering an audience already present as fans from the show.

Interactive ads

If you can’t beat them, join them — or, do it even better yourself.

Kontor Records were certainly pushing this idea in their print ad campaign. Everyone’s got a mobile phone these days, there’s no stopping that. And everyone has music apps, and that’s not going anywhere either. So, the company made use of these facts and put out a printed advert in a magazine of a vinyl disc. With the supplied QR code, readers could use their phones as a turntable to play the ‘vinyl’! With 71% of the QR codes used and 42% following the link to their store, it’s safe to say this campaign was a successful use of print!

Of course, interaction doesn’t always need a digital element (and plenty would argue digital has sapped a little of our interactivity!)

Tecate beer came up with the brilliant idea of using texture as a means to interact with their printed advert, as well as providing a fun little purpose too — with a printed picture of one of their beers taking up the page, the picture’s ‘foam’ was covered with bubble-wrap. People just can’t help but pop bubble wrap, so it was guaranteed to get a pause in page-turning! This is a clear use of science in print, as there’s evidence to show that people not only feel calmer for popping bubble wrap, but that it might even have roots in our evolutionary instincts.

Content Marketing

Another good form of brand awareness that has became apparent is content marketing. A great example of a successful content marketing campaign would be Coke’s “Share A Coke” Campaign. If you haven’t heard of this campaign, then you’ve missed out! Coca-Cola traded out their iconic logo for over 1000 names. Consumers were encouraged to find and share bottles that had a meaning to them by using the hashtag #shareacoke. This campaign had everything that a company longs for when creating a marketing piece; a powerful call to action and being able to connect with consumers on a personal level.

Another example of a successful content marketing campaign would be the History Channel’s interactive quiz which took a completely different approach than Coca-Cola. The History Channel wanted to create awareness around a new docudrama they were releasing called ‘Barbarians Rising’ and so they teamed up with Mediaworks to create a quiz which resulted in the consumer finding out which type of barbarian they would be. The results were presented in a digital trading card with stats like strength, bravery and leadership on show. To build an offline presence the trading cards were printed as physical copies and distributed as promotional materials. The quiz itself was seen around 300,000 times and it is estimated that the physical cards were seen a lot more but physical copies hard to track.

Get your reader involved

The crux of print appreciation comes from interaction, whether its physical or emotional. People remember interacting with things or feeling something as a result.

A printed advert could offer a sample in a clever way — could a ‘sample’ from your company be transferred via a code on a printed advert? Or could it scratch that itch of hearing or feeling something respond to your actions, like bubble-popping?


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