The impact of the printed message is as strong as ever, enabling creative possibilities that other media just can't match. Read on and you'll discover some recent campaigns that highlight the incredible power of print in all sorts of different ways-from revealing IKEA discounts for prospective parents, to turning pizza boxes into sound systems.
Our aim is to fire your imagination, but each example will also give you a practical insight into how print can boost your own campaigns and achieve fantastic results.
Research has shown that print is a multi-sensory powerhouse-and is up to 700% more effective at landing a message than single-sense media 1. In fact:
Studies show that, because printed material is physical, it triggers heightened activity in areas of the brain that integrate visual and spatial information -making it more memorable. Indeed, print ads generate 757% higher recall than digital ads.
Printed matter prompts high levels of emotional processing and physical responses related to 'feeling'. We are more emotionally attached to print than digital channels, and we make that emotional connection in as little as 0.3 seconds.
Evidence suggests that changing the quality of paper used in print advertising leads to better perceptions of a brand.
Ready to be inspired?
#1 DELIVER MEMORABLE MESSAGES VIA TEXTURE
Campaign: ‘Babyface’ by Gilette
What dad would want their whiskery face to stand in the way of bonding with their newborn? That was the insight behind a brilliant campaign for Gillette by Grey Tel Aviv. Armed with the knowledge that babies' skin releases hormones to encourage a closer emotional bond when in contact with a parent, Grey set out to get new dads to ditch the beards . "The Dad Test," a double page print ad in Israel's leading men's magazine, helped fathers to discover how coarse their beard would feel to their new baby's skin.
Different grades of sandpaper demonstrated the sensation of longer stubble, with the harshest grade designed to leave real scratches on the opposing page. The copy here read, "The paper can absorb anything ... and your baby's skin?"
Print was used as part of a Iarger integrated campaign including TV ads, a unique haptics smartphone app and on-the-ground promotion with parent communities, And post-campaign research showed that men who encountered the campaign were 15% more likely to go clean-shaven, resulting in a sales uplift of 9%.
#2 MAKE PRINT MAKE SOME NOICE
Campaign: ‘DJ box’ by Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut knew its customers love listening to their favourite tunes over a pizza. They wanted to find a unique way to bring these things even closer together.
To do this, they approached Dr. Kate Stone, whose print innovation agency Novalia specialises in creating 'connected print' executions. And they weren't disappointed. Using modern print technology, Stone came up with the idea of transforming Pizza Hut's takeaway boxes into real, working DJ decks.
On receiving their pizza, customers followed simple instructions to unfold the innovative pizza box, revealing a printed design modelled on a DJ set-up- including two turntables, a cross-fader, pitch shifters, cue buttons and controls to 'rewind' music.
The technology that made this more than just a pretty picture is carbon-conductive ink: on one side of the paper is a printed graphic; on the other, a small circuit board.
By touching the graphic,you connect the circuit, which activates an embedded chip that syncs via Bluetooth to the user's smartphone or laptop, communicating with software such as Algoriddim's DJAY Pro.
The decks can differentiate between taps, long presses and even swipes of the finger in any direction, allowing pizza fans to mix and scratch as they eat.
Customers just had to order a takeaway to have a chance of getting one of the special boxes, showing what can be achieved when you combine a piece of cardboard, modern connectivity and a great idea.
#3 EXPLORE THE EMOTIONAL POWER OF THE IMAGE
Campaign: ‘Try not to hear this’ by Coca-cola
It's one of the world's most recognised productswhich means billions of people know what CocaCola looks, smells and tastes like. When DAVID Miami was tasked to come up with a new campaign by the Central & Eastern Europe Business Unit of the Coca-Cola Company, it aimed to leverage this knowledge and these sensory impressions to create a visual ad that forced viewers to stop ... and listen.
The thought behind the campaign was beautifully observed: triggering the memory
of the sound of the can opening, the drink pouring, or the bubbles effervescing, makes
you instinctively want to taste what's inside.
The resulting print and billboard campaign comprised a series of vibrant close-ups of a
can or a bottle of Coke being opened or poured. These single, striking images were then juxtaposed with the words, 'try not to hear this'.
These ads exploit a neurological phenomenon called synaesthesia, and combine its effect with some good old-fashioned reverse psychology. Synaesthesia causes the brain to combine sensory experiences that wouldn't otherwise be linked: often true synaesthetes 'taste' or 'see' music and colours. Those of us without the condition experience a similar effect in the way smells and sounds evoke memories. In this case, the agency exploited memories of Coca-Cola experiences by inviting us to 'hear' an image.
The success of the campaign is testament to the power of such images. It generated a massive 86 million impressions and thousands of digital conversations across four European markets in its first two months alone.
And it made swathes of people really, really want a Coke.
#4 COMBINE PRINT WITH DIGITAL INGENUITY
Campaign: Hologram Direct Mail’ by Mercedes
We've always championed print as an effective part of the media mix. But print media can be mixed with digital media in a much more literal way too -as this campaign shows.
When Australian agency Clemenger BBDO were tasked with creating something to support the launch of the innovative Mercedes GLC, they had a useful insight to work with: many GLC buyers are early adopters of new technology.
The brief was to create something that felt as innovative as the car itself. Something that would merge the gap between offline and on line. Something that would ultimately lead to the purchase of a car.
For an audience as status-driven and low on brand loyalty as this, direct mail is an excellent choice-it's genuinely exclusive and, if done well, can feel highly premium too. But how to deliver innovation?
Clemenger BBDO came up with the idea of mailing out a hologram of the all newGLC-a perfect match for the car's innovative ethos.
Exactly74,973 people received the piece, which contained die-cut Perspex shapes to be quickly folded into a pyramid. Once assembled, a custom-built microsite directed users to place the pyramid on their phone or iPad, which then projected a 3D holographic image of the vehicle, as well as a film about the car.
This cutting-edge, interactive print execution led to a conversion rate to purchase the G LC of 3.27%, generating AUS$35 million in revenue-an ROI of $275 for every $7 spent.
Showcasing the power of print when marrying traditional marketing channels with innovative technology, the GLC online experience contributed to a 20.67% increase in total Mercedes-Benz test drives across the period of the campaign.
#5 DINE OUT ON PRINT
Campaign: ‘The worlds first tastebale print ad’ by fanta
In response to shrinking market share in the Middle East, Fanta took the bold step of relaunching with a new improved flavour- and they needed an equally bold marketing idea to excite consumers. But how do you get people to try a new taste sensation without giving the product away?
Cue the world's first tasteable print ad by Memac Ogilvy Dubai. Using edible rice paper, the eye-catching ads were infused with the super-secret new Fanta formula, with evocative, adjective-laden copy describing the experience of savouring the new taste.
The copy also invited readers to remove the ad from its protective sleeve, tear off a piece and give it a chew. And as the entire ad was edible, readers were also encouraged to share the experience with their friends.
"Fanta is all about bringing back play to seemingly boring situations where it has evaporated," explains Ta run Sabhlok, group brand manager, flavours, Coca-Cola Middle East. "With the launch of the new orangey taste, we wanted to create a multi-sensory print experience people would remember and want to share." The ad was part of a broader campaign showcasing the orangey sights, sounds and taste of Fanta. Motion sensor-enabled retail displays released an orange aroma as people approached, while a Facebook app let consumers record a slurping sound to 'drink' the luscious orange liquid, competing with on line friends to fill their screens fastest.
But to actually 'try' the new Fanta without buying it? That could only be achieved with print.
Print isn't limited to conventional ink and paper. Ink can conduct electricity, glow in the dark, change colour in the sun, provide3D textures and effects, and more. Use print to tell new stories and create new experiences.