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13 . 10 . 17

Why ‘touch and feel’ matters in a ‘swipe and scroll’ world

Words by: Print Power
We look at the trust and emotional responses evoked by print media, as discussed by leading industry figures at this week's FIPP World Congress in London
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Far from being an endangered medium, print – be it magazines, newspapers, door drops or catalogues – is here to stay, and as several recent creative examples have shown, give advertisers a sensory edge.

Christian Kallenberg, consulting director of Germany’s We Like Mags told delegates that in a world of ‘swipe and scroll’ the ‘touch and feel’ of physical magazines gives the medium a stand-out advantage. 

People – even millennials – buy print magazines because of the subjective value, sensual experience of print and the value of extras, such as cover mounts, he said. Kallenberg cited the example of a German comic book publisher which put turf on the front of the publication ahead of the World Cup. “That wouldn’t exist without print,” he said. “Imagine that on a website. It wouldn’t work.”

Dr Stefanie Eichiner, manager, environmental market support CE at UPM in Germany outlined the trust that print brings. “People trust paper,” she said. “Over 70% of people think print is at least twice as trustworthy as other media. And 90% wouldn’t live without a letterbox.”

The reaction to print can be overwhelming, she said. “It holds value when the moment is gone. You can use paper to convey values, moods and feelings in a way that is not possible digitally.”

Newspapers triggering senses 

And that is good news for advertisers willing to push the creative boundaries of the medium. Research conducted by the UK’s Newsworks, University College London and media agency PHD in 2015 found that the touchable format of newspapers increases reader confidence, satisfaction, reliability and trust in advertised brands. This resulted in an increased willingness to try, purchase and recommend the brands to others. 

Creative that encourages people to touch a print ad produces even stronger brand impressions – a 41% increase in people’s belief that the brand is honest and sincere; quality perceptions by 20% and purchase intent by 24%.

One recent example is ‘The Dad Test’, an ad created by Gillette in Israel. It created a double-page magazine ad targeting millennials about to become first-time fathers. ‘The Dad Test’ demonstrates how a beard feels against a soft newborn's skin, with different roughness levels used. The adjacent page shows real scratch marks to demonstrate the level of roughness from facial hair. 

Another stand-out ad demonstrating the power of paper is ASICS’ Cannes award-winning ‘Foot Type Test’. The footwear company ran a print ad in Brazil with a practical purpose: helping runners work out what kind of shoe they need. The ad, by Neogama/BBH, used a thermochromic ink that reacts to body heat. All that people needed to do was stand on the print ad, which would then show them what type of foot they had – something previously only done in store with specialist equipment. 

Print can even evoke senses other than touch and sight as both News Corp Australia and Singapore’s TODAY and WONDA coffee demonstrate. In the summer WONDA coffee took up four pages in Singapore’s TODAY newspaper with a coffee-scented advertisement created by Havas Media Singapore and Entropia. 

And this month News Corp Australia launched its latest retail campaign by infusing the smell of buttered popcorn into 800,000 regional and local newspapers to support a family movie collection. The promotion for The Great Night In Family Movie Collection is expected to reach around 3.5 million readers.

News Corp Australia chief marketing officer Tony Phillips said it demonstrates how newspapers can offer innovative and effective advertising solutions for marketers.

"It's an example of how newspapers stand out as a great sensory advertising medium, helping consumers cut through the clutter and deliver smart, relevant messages in a highly entertaining way," he said.