In a world where digital advertising screams for attention, print ads need a little extra spice to compete.
Ads that evoke emotion, add humor, or spark curiosity have extra impact. Need inspiration? Here are three imaginative print campaigns to consider.
Opel: A Road Safety Campaign
Opel, a German automobile manufacturer, wanted to draw attention to the danger of texting while driving.
Opel’s message is distinct because it uses nothing more than the black background and a short line of text that packs a big punch:
“Your typjng whille you drive is asbad as your drivinh whilr yoou typr.”
Sharp, memorable, and humorous, this ad immediately shows why texting driving is a bad idea. Opel paired this with gigantic black and white sidewalk banners of a person pushing a 7-meter-long baby stroller. The banners included this caption, highlighted in yellow:
“1 second on your phone are 7 meters on the street. Don’t text and drive.”
Vodol: Smelly and Simple
Did you know the human brain can process images up to 60,000 times faster than words?
With a picture, you convey much more than you can with words. In some cases, it can take a thousand words to describe what is displayed in one picture!
Whenever possible, use pictures that share concepts in striking, unusual ways. Vodol, one of Brazil’s best-known brands for preventing athlete’s foot and odor issues, nailed this strategy. Its print ad featured a foot with normal toes and arches, while a rounded nose took the place of the heel’s natural curve. The nostril – mashed into the ground – was accompanied by this caption:
“Protect your feet. And our noses.”
French Ministry of Health: Offend Others or Let a Bland Message “Melt” Away?
Print ads in magazines, newspapers, and catalogs are viewed as more trustworthy by consumers who already have connections with that print advertising channel.
Looking to address childhood obesity and target behavior change, the French Ministry of Health created a print ad where a flesh-colored, triple-scoop ice cream cone was melting into the shape of a very large belly.
This arresting image, accompanied by the caption “obesity starts at a young age,” caused people everywhere to think twice about daily food choices. Sometimes a stark image is needed to grab attention, and in this case – with the number of obese people doubling in recent years – France was serious about getting its message across.
Strategic Design is Key
While each of these print ads each hold some shock value, they also carry a distinct, easy-to-understand message.
To create effective print ads, thoughtful design is essential. Because of its tactile nature and sensory impact, print offers a more curated approach than digital media. Use highly targeted content and distinct, powerful images to grab attention and compel engagement from your viewers.
And, as these ads demonstrate, simplicity is powerful. To go for more, sometimes what you really need is less.