The future of print advertising11/10/11
The future of print advertising is a prominent issue in an increasingly digital and multimedia world. Social media, online and interactive advertising have seen a growth alongside advances in computer and leisure technology, where smartphones and tablets replacing newspapers is increasing .
In an article on 22nd August 2011, Russell Adams at The Wall Street Journal reports,
Though not an entirely global trend, Western print advertising’s recent stagnation is often seen as an indication of its eventual demise. This is assumptive and largely inaccurate. Though the power and growth of digital and online advertising is indisputable, print advertising is far from powerless.
As the oldest form of advertising, print certainly has a well-established credibility, as well as a global reach and loyal following. It also has a versatility that other forms of advertising do not have; print can be displayed in magazines, on billboards, at bus stops, in newspapers, at train stations, and many more locations that do not depend upon a digital device or Internet access.
Perhaps one of its strongest features is its simplicity; users are less assaulted without sounds and movement, allowing message to be more subtly communicated. Print ads have the ability to integrate into their surroundings and feel at home in a way that motion and interactive adverts do not. Take for instance a magazine; no one thinks twice of the watch ads and hand cream samples when flicking through GQ. They are as much a part of the mag as the articles. Now compare that to adverts appearing in the middle of a TV show, the notable increase in volume, the loud, desperate attempts to re-gain the attention of the viewer. Advertising in print is a much more delicate art.
Trusting the potential of a print advert’s visual impact is key. In our print campaign, ‘Fashion Lives’, commissioned by CHI & Partners, London for Westfield shopping centre, the striking impact of the final print image was in the simplicity of its message. The project’s combination of photography (by David Hughes) and CGI, like much of our work, emphasises print’s more artistic nature as an advertising form. Yet it also demonstrates that print can be as innovative and cutting edge as motion and interactive advertising; the difference is that in our print, the innovation is more subtle and understated.
In 2010, the executives of Condé Nast, Wenmer Media, Meredith National Media, Time Inc. and Hearst collaborated to launch an advertising campaign entitled, ‘The Power of Print’. In one particular advert, a photo of the swimmer Michael Phelps accompanies the statement: “We surf the Internet. We swim in magazines.”
Charles Townsend, the CEO of Condé Nast, stated, “There’s a reason magazines are such an enduring and engaging media force. The format showcases our rich content and our advertisers’ brand messages like no other medium, resulting in a bond with consumers that is uniquely powerful.” Vogue, perhaps the most famous Condé Nast publication, is arguably founded upon the luxurious tangibility and artistry of the magazine’s content. The advertising in such magazines is almost a separate artistic industry in itself, and this is largely thanks to print advertising’s artistic production style and form.
Furthermore, despite magazines and newspapers creating online and digital versions of themselves, the appeal of a physical publication is evident in the loyalty of its readers as well as this, taken from the Simmons Multi-Media Engagement Study:
“Magazines are the No. 1 medium of engagement – across all dimensions measured. Magazines continue to score significantly higher than TV or the Internet in ad receptivity and all of the other engagement dimensions, including ‘trustworthy’ and ‘inspirational.’” (more)
Away from the West, there has been a growth of print advertising in Developing countries. In an article published online on 22nd August 2011, the Nepalese advertising industry emphasises its own growth:
“Turnover from print media increased massively in the past fiscal year mainly due to lengthy power cuts and inclusion of advertisements published different magazines under print segment,” said Raj Kumar Bhattarai, president of AAN (Advertising Agency of Nepal).”
Similarly, an article in The Economic Times states that India’s print advertising has witnessed a growth of 16% in the first six months of 2011 (according to media market research firm Adex India). The total annual advertising sector in India is also stated to be worth $5bn, and print advertising is the leading contributor at 44%.
The latest figures released by the Financial Times on Oct 5th 2011, show that print advertising has fallen by only 5% in the last year, still giving it a 16.7% market share with spending around £1.37bn. Whilst this is still a way from the £2.26bn spending online it is still very sizable portion of the market, much to big to ignore.
At Taylor James, our ability to combine photography, CGI and retouch means that our print advertising work is often thematically and aesthetically compatible with digital and multimedia forms of advertising. This brings us to a primary point; despite the advances in technology and new media, advertising is in danger of becoming overly concerned with only the newest and latest breakthrough in the industry’s technological capabilities. Print advertising, rather than being cast out and forgotten, should be integrated with newer, more interactive forms to create a cohesive and well-rounded campaign.
Commissioned by Glue Isobar, London, Taylor James’ 2008 project for the Toyota iQ is perhaps the best demonstration of this. From underground and train station digital displays to the IMAX cinema wraparound billboard, to TV; the Toyota iQ campaign encompassed all advertising mediums, in print, digital and broadcast. Despite the highly digital aesthetic of the project, we knew that we could not discard the power of print, since it would simply be a direct and still representation of the campaign as a whole. Similarly in our 2009 project for Citrix Systems, commissioned by Y&R, San Francisco, we created twelve separate deliverables: six for print and six for animation. It was in combining these two separate forms of advertising, print and motion, that perhaps gave us, and importantly the client, such good results.
Multi-platform advertising is more important than any one form, whether online, on television, in smartphone App technology, or even print. It is a combination of these forms, and in their ability to combine with each other coherently, delivering a simple and effective message, that will ultimately deliver the best results for the client, and ensure that the clearest and most versatile advertising work is produced.