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Print: putting the potent power of touch into your ad campaign
31 . 03 . 22

From Coca-Cola to IKEA – the print campaigns putting brands at the centre of attention

Words by: Print Power
It’s official – attention to print advertising beats digital hands down. In honour of print advertising’s potent advantage, Print Power rounds up some of its all-time favourite, attention-grabbing print campaigns…
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In a crowded marketing landscape where brands are vying for attention on multiple channels, recent research proves that attention is one of the most valuable commodities when it comes to brand recall and ROI. Attention can be summed up as the act or state of selectively concentrating on something while ignoring other things. And with digital noise and screen fatigue on the rise, particularly after the pandemic, it’s heartening to know that print eclipses digital when it comes to harnessing quality attention and driving sales.

Attention technology company Lumen’s research in partnership with Japanese media agency Dentsu and Ebiquity, proved just how short attention spans in any form are. For example, a 20 second ad might only get noticed for 1- to 3-seconds. But it’s when they looked at the difference between digital and print media that the results got interesting. Yes, we’ve all been looking at our screens more, but their research proved that while a typical YouTube 6-second ad might get around 2.4-seconds of attention, a typical full-page ad in a newspaper might get around 3.3-seconds of attention. When people read print media, the quality of attention we give to the ads is greater (read more about it here) than it is to the blink-and-you’ll miss it digital ads.

Quality beats quantity

Recent WARC research further emphasises that exposure time to ads and visual impact matters. And the environment can influence both. In their Best Practice report from January 2022, they discovered that ads in ‘quality’ contexts gain more attention. Magazines are a trusted, quality context that carry well-placed, targeted ads. And more people say they pay attention to advertising in magazines than any other environment in print or online. Plus, according to Newsworks, the latest IPA Touchpoints data (2021) reveals that an incredible 23 million Brits read national news brands every month – just over half the population. Out of those, readers spend 1 hour 17 minutes with their daily newspaper on the days they read, and 1 hour 26 minutes with their Sunday papers. That’s a heap of exposure time to well-placed adverts.

So how can advertisers fix what WARC calls the ‘distraction economy’ – the act of mining ever-lower quality human attention from distracted consumers and squandering what little attention that can be garnered by poor creativity? To reverse this, they recommend moving to ‘responsibly sourced attention’ – that means in a trusted environment, with quality targeting and less clutter. Everything that print advertising offers in fact.

And of course, versatile print champions creativity, and creativity will always get noticed. So in honour print advertising’s many attention-grabbing advantages, Print Power is delighted to bring you some of its all-time favourite, gloriously creative print campaigns that make you look…

Coca-Cola: See it, hear it, want it

Simple, striking and effective, Coca-Cola and DAVID The Agency’s Cannes Lions-winning campaign brought the sensations of sound to print. Tempting you with a beautifully shot close-up of a Coke being opened or poured next to the words ‘try not to hear this’, you actually can’t help but hear it and subsequently crave it. Demonstrating the power of a single photograph to tap into your thirst, it also creates a synaesthesia-like effect that triggers you hearing the delicious ‘kttccchhhh’ as the can or bottle is cracked open. Read the full story of this seductive attention grabber here.

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IKEA: this ad sends you off to sleep

Boosting brand recall is the holy grail of advertisers, and IKEA’s SÖMNIG (Swedish for sleepy) and Memac Ogilvy’s flat pack print ad certainly leaves a lasting impression. How? Through ingenious use of imbedded smart technology and infused printing inks, the ad emitted a white noise that masked unwanted sounds, and a subtle lavender smell that relaxed your muscles. Designed as a sleep aid, it tapped into your senses and served as an impactful reminder that if you ever want to replace your bed, then IKEA’s are guaranteed to give you the best night’s sleep ever. A fine example of how print can offer a tactile, multi-sensory experience that has the power to boost brand recall by up to 70%. Get the full, soporific story here.

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KFC: a very public print apology

When KFC wanted to apologise to its customers for running out of chicken and shutting their restaurants, they wanted to do it via a channel that would have the most impact. That channel wasn’t digital, but print. Helped by Mother London, they printed a full-page apology in seven British and three American newspapers. It seems that while brands do most of their talking online, saying sorry was something they reserved for print media. Why? Newspapers are a trusted channel that will help you get in front of the right people. And by putting your apology on paper that has to go through several draughts before being published, you’re giving the impression that the sentiment is carefully considered and sincere. Print has a permanence that holds gravitas and garners attention in a way that digital doesn’t. Read how KFC’s ‘buzz rating’ rose 336% (from 11 to 37) within a week of the apology here.


Dove: the courage to be real

In a departure from their iconic images of women celebrating their bodies and being comfortable in their own skin, Dove and Ogilvy London felt that conversations around beauty were superficial in the pandemic. So they turned their lens on those risking their lives and produced a series of arresting print images showing the ravages of PPE on the faces of healthcare workers on the frontline of the Covid crisis. Rewarded with the Cannes Lions prestigious Grand Prix, the Courage is Beautiful campaign is a stunning example of the emotive power of the printed image.

You’ll find more of Print Power’s outstanding examples of print creativity here.