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case studies
06 . 05 . 18

Print advertisements reveal 22 things you need... not to die

Words by: Print Power
The first print case study in a new series where we ask big names in the ad biz to talk us through their favourite print media campaign from the past few years. First up: Santosh Padhi.
print advertising emergency collectibles 3.jpg

The power of print at a glance

  • A simple, honest idea, executed well can be more impactful than an all-singing, all-dancing campaign.
  • Newspapers can grab attention and change behaviour, but the many advantages of print advertising have been forgotten in this digital era.

Santosh Padhi, the chief creative officer and co-founder of Mumbai-based agency Taproot Dentsu, has picked up more Cannes Lions (12) than any other Indian ad man. And he was once voted the third best art director in the world in a survey by the UK’s Campaign magazine. He’s also been crowned the top creative person from India not once, but twice by Campaign Brief Asia.

He’s a guy whose opinion matters – and we were fortunate to catch up with Padhi (“call me Paddy”) at the recent D&AD Festival, where he plumped for a double-page spread from Dentsu and Japanese daily Kobe Shimbum as the inaugural entry in our ‘Twist my arm’ showcase of timeless print work.

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Earthquakes demand attention. Preparing an evacuation kit doesn’t. It’s a dilemma that inspired Dentsu and Kobe Shimbun to create ‘Emergency Collectibles’ – an ad that turned a boring, typically low-priority task into a potentially life-saving treasure hunt.

The hope was that by encouraging families to collaborate to collect each of the items identified on the page they would have everything they needed to survive in the aftermath of a ’quake.

Each of the 22 essential items was represented by an outline – according to the creators, this appeals to our basic urge to fill compartmentalised spaces – and a punchy explanation for their inclusion.

There was even a ‘free space’ in the ad for anything (Nintendo Switch, perhaps?) folks might feel like carrying at the time. With that simple touch, says Paddy, the creative team brought a bit of lightness to a serious subject… and made it resonate at a more personal level.

“They’ve taken this initiative not to sell more newspapers,” believes Paddy, “but to tell people to be careful and to prepare – by putting these 22 items in a kit bag.”

In Kobe, epicentre of Japan’s second most destructive earthquake of the 20th century, the message was received loud and clear. Of the 510,000 households that saw the ad, 23,000 participated in the treasure hunt. Paddy reckons this was in large part down to the medium of print advertising.

“Imagine opening that paper early in the morning. A double-page spread has much more impact than a 14-inch TV screen or a six-inch phone screen. The fact everything on there is actual size… that really hits you. They’ve not overdramatised the execution. They’ve kept it simple, honest, truthful.”

He continues: “I think in this digital era we’ve forgotten – or decided to ignore – this powerful medium. It’s not on. I love this piece of work because it’s so direct. I sat on the [D&AD Awards 2017 Direct] jury last year and chose it because it connects with and solves a problem. If only five or 10 families followed its instructions, it could save their lives. We forget these basic precautions, and here is a campaign reminding people – in a lovely, simple way – why they should remember.”

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