Clever and creative print campaigns that REALLY work!

Digital print ads have become a key ingredient for most marketing campaigns, but what about those who still regularly buy and consume print media? These points of contact with the consumer remain as important as ever and, for many, create a stronger and longer-lasting impact.

Breaking down the ad

The majority of stand-out print ads will centre around powerful imagery which catches the eye. However, within the few seconds an advertiser has, they must grab the consumer’s fleeting attention, so complicated designs are out.  

Beyond this striking first impression, your print must have a clear meaning which is easy to understand. Additionally, it must also be obvious what product, brand or company is being advertised; otherwise, a great campaign could be wasted.

Strong campaigns that tell a good story will show you rather than tell you its meaning because the more you have to explain, the harder it will be for the audience to remain focused. Offering something that has never been seen before can often dramatically increase the impact of your campaign— simply because of the novelty effect.

How to get creative

Below are a few of the different ways you can be creative with an ad or print campaign. We’re also sharing some of our favourite ads and campaigns because, as we all know, a picture can paint a 1,000 words!

  • Illustrative

Some print will use an illustration to convey an idea; often, this has minimal wording. These are fairly easy to create in-house and can range from the minimalistic and impactful, i.e. The Guardian’s ‘The Whole Story’ pie chart to the complex and detailed yet compelling once digested, Sharpie ‘One Story, Two Points’ campaign.

  • Illusion

A powerful creative technique which uses an image your brain perceives as one thing to show you something else entirely. This illusion approach is a great way of connecting two ideas or concepts in an imaginative and engaging way. 

For example, the B&B Hotels ad has a bed made up of breakfast items. It is a clever way of informing the customer what they should expect from the hotel in a novel manner.

  • Interactive 

Not to be confused with tech interactions, there is still a large portion of ads which rely only on human involvement. For example, pop-up flowers when opened.

This has expanded to more complex engagements in recent years, such as Peugeot’s punchable airbag, which showcased its new safety features and Wonderbra’s connected bra cups to demonstrate the bra’s effect when tightened. Informative, as well as interesting. 

  • Perspective

This type requires starting with a clear understanding of the user’s perspective and creating a simple way to distort that perspective. This type often leaves the customer with a strong emotion, like the wow factor, for example. These kinds of ads can be small scale print ads, i.e. Subaru Forester: King Of The Hills, which utilised the pages of the magazine it was printed on to recreate dunes for the car to navigate across. 

Or, on a larger scale, using the bottom floor of a mall to advertise dog flea medicine by laying down a large dog image that people walked across to play the part of the fleas. 

  • Tech Savvy

Finally, the tech-based print ads encourage the audience to interact through a digital element. This adds the element of fun and can offer something valuable to the customer. For example, an advertisement from Nivea provided a trackable wristband for kids at the beach. Or how about including a QR code to drive your audience straight to your website or landing page? 

Additionally, modern print ads can use tech to stand out amongst the crowd. For example, at Clone Media, we worked with the luxury brand Guerlain to create a striking A5 video brochure which was included in a printed mailer carton. This brought a 3D perspective to the traditional print ad format, making it unique and therefore more engaging than the print media they’d seen before. 

Clever print is here to stay.  As long as there are marketers willing to try unexplored things and think outside of the box, it will remain a key way to engage and inform audiences. 

At Clone Media, we are committed to remaining innovative in all areas of print and digital. Knowing that to delight and inspire your customers is what will keep them coming back for more. 


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