In a digital world, the print ad is often dismissed as an old-fashioned medium.

However, according to new research it is more powerful than today’s marketers might think.

A recent study discovered that, as well as increasing positive feelings toward a brand, some print ads can even be impactful enough to implant a false memory in the brain.

Likewise, another study showed that brand recall was 70% higher in participants reading print compared to digital.

So, even though we are constantly being told of its decline, it appears some brands are still heavily investing in the medium. 

Waitrose recently described print as its most effective advertising channel in terms of ROI, as well as the best way for the brand to tell a richer story.

With this in mind, here’s a run-down of some of my favourite ads of the past few years, proving that print is far from dead.

Volkswagen

This attention-grabbing ad from Volkswagen was used to introduce the new Park Assist feature.

Explaining all you need to know in a single image, it encapsulates the power of visual advertising.

28 Too Many

Designed by Ogilvy & Mather, this creative was used to raise awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK on behalf of charity 28 Too Many.

Arresting and uncomfortable to look at - it hammers home its message incredibly effectively.

 

StrongerMarriage.org

Based around intelligent wording, StrongerMarriage promotes the importance of compromise.

Occasionally cited as one of the greatest examples of ad copy, it proves that even the smallest or unknown brands can gain notoriety through one brilliant idea.

Scrabble

One of those ads that is definitely worth stopping to read, Scrabble encapsulates the beauty of its game to great effect here.

While most brands deliberately design ads that can be understood at a glance, this boldly challenges the reader to make an effort.

Schick

It might be in danger of offending a few hipsters, but this clever approach to advertising wins Schick definite cool points.

An ad that makes you look twice - it reflects what a beard might feel like from a partner's point of view.

Nivea

Proving that simplicity is often the key to a success, this example from Nivea promotes its night cream perfectly.

Instead of telling you what the product does or why you should use it, it relies on recognisable branding and reputation to let you make up your own mind.

Nivea Men

Likewise, showing that life isn’t always that straightforward, this ad for Nivea men conveys the impact that stress and emotions can have on our appearance. 

Again focusing on a relatable experience rather than a magical cure, the product is almost secondary.

McDonald's

McDonald's is often bold and brash in its advertising, but this image of fries fashioned from its original ingredient is refreshingly pared down.

Honing in on consumer worries about health and nutrition, it aims to reassure and engage at the same time.

Buick

Though not immediately obvious, the premise behind this Buick advert is hard-hitting.

It depicts real-life crash victims holding up road signs to highlight their importance.

Using a serious topic to engage consumers, it shows that print advertising can be used to promote more than just sales.

Reflex Spray

Reflecting the lengths runners literally go to during the London marathon, this ad for Reflex pain relief spray celebrates subtlety.

In fact, the copy is so subtle that it's easy to miss what it's promoting - certainly a brave move from the brand.

 Harley-Davidson

A campaign which won big at Cannes Lions, this Harley-Davidson ad is designed to promote its custom-made bikes.

Showing an image of a face amid a dismantled motorcycle, it was apparently painstaking to create, but certainly worthwhile.

Guinness

Guinness has a reputation for great content marketing, and its print ads are no exception.

Using observational humour to tap into the universal experience of socialising, it is a great reflection of the brand's no-nonsense attitude.

Dabur Gastrina

An Indian brand of digestive pills, Dabur Gastrina perfectly encapsulates its product in a simple, eye-catching and colourful series of ads.

Instantly understandable, it proves that great design can articulate anything.

Corona

Designed to promote its ‘drink responsibly’ message, Corona combines humour and striking visuals in this classic print ad.

Like the aforementioned Buick, it takes the opportunity to instil a valuable message in its brand advertising.

Ecovia

Lastly, one of the most visually engaging ads in recent years, this creative by Ecovia Brazil was used to encourage safe driving.

Dramatising the violent and traumatic nature of car collisions, it pleads with its audience to take care.

Hard to ignore – it certainly gets its message across.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 14 September, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (1)

Owen Jones

Owen Jones, Manager - Digital Content Management at FidelityEnterprise

Some really great examples of print ads here. I think it's easy to confuse print and press. The medium is still effective, but when it comes to press ads fewer people are actually seeing the ads.

over 1 year ago

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