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October 15, 2010 / Adam + Dan

Is print dead?

[tweetmeme source=”adamanddan” only_single=false]Over the last few weeks, we’ve been having more and more discussions about whether Print ads are dead? Yet brands still insist in using them. Yes, they’ve worked in the past and got positive results, but not so anymore.

Nowadays, brands want to be liked. But you do this by doing having a big idea, not just a print campaign. When was the last time you remembered a print ad? When was the last time you shared a print ad with your friends because it was new and innovative?

The only print ad campaign we can remember this year is the Marmite campaign. Yet with digital, social and experimental campaigns we can recall – Old Spice, Nike Grid, Pepsi Refresh Project, Dr Pepper Status Takeover and The Ikea Facebook Showroom to name a few.

Print ads should be used to support a big idea, not be used solely as ‘the idea’.

Brands that do well and create a stir are brands who experiment, are daring and interact with their audience at a place where they are.

Currently, consumers spend most of their time online, on social networks and on their mobile phones. If you want to get their attention, do something in the place where they are.

So why are brands still scared of doing advertising other than traditional media? Brands who embrace it are doing well but brands who stay traditional will struggle to keep up. And they won’t be able to buy fans and publicity like some brands seem to be doing.

This may very well change in the future, but if brands want to keep their fans they must keep doing new exciting things to keep them noticed.

If print advertising was a marriage, it would be stale, boring and routine based. Let’s get brands to spice it up a bit in the bedroom and do something exciting.

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  1. Rob Mortimer / Oct 26 2010 10:19

    Fair point. But are you saying the medium is dead, or just that people aren’t making proper use of it?
    Considering the amount of magazines, newspapers and bilboards out there, the medium still has a valuable place in the world… we just need to use it better.

    • Adam + Dan / Oct 26 2010 12:11

      Yeh perhaps that’s it, it had a place to accompany big ideas, but I think if it needs to evolve somehow. Like you said there’s plenty of opportunity to use it, but it’s just not being used interestingly enough.

  2. Marcus Howe / Oct 26 2010 10:29

    A misleading title, since you’re talking solely about print in advertising, but I still couldn’t agree less.
    This generalisation that goes on in the industry, “It’s about a BIG IDEA”, “It’s about integrated campaigns” doesn’t follow through. The notion that you have to be where the consumer is, ergo, on their social networks and favourite websites, is a false one, because users hate advertising creeping into their digital life.
    They don’t click, they won’t click, and they never will. I can think of plenty of instances where a campaign has been in print and TV only, and worked perfectly well. Advertisers need to stop slobbering over this not-new-anymore medium called “digital” and get back to TV and print, because you’re not welcome on the net.

    • Adam + Dan / Oct 26 2010 12:16

      Digital is a lot more than just click banners. We agree they’re not welcome, but with social networks, users have the choice if they wish to follow a brand and interact with them. And print or tv isn’t welcome either, nobody wants to see advertising anywhere, so it’s finding ways of engaging with people without them realising its advertising. Subservient Chicken has had 396 million hits to date since it’s release. That was great digital advertising and was released on the back of a print and tv ad campaign. Yet nobody remember those.

      • Marcus Howe / Oct 26 2010 13:35

        Sure, “digital” amounts to more than clicking on banners, but as you’ve just said yourself, advertising isn’t welcome anywhere. Nobody remembers the subservient chicken site either. Why? Because it was a fun gimmick, and people didn’t see it as advertising. They got bored of it, and it faded into memory. Did it increase sales? Doubtful, most people I ever spoke to about it had no idea it was part of a campaign, never mind who it was a campaign for.

        I think the telling thing is this, “Finding ways of engaging people without them realising it’s advertising”.
        That to my mind is easy. Getting those consumers to then follow through and buy a product, well, good luck to you. If, at the end of the day, there isn’t a positive impact on the bottom line, then it’s a failure, regardless of how many people engage with it.

      • Rob Mortimer / Oct 27 2010 15:02

        People don’t hate all advertising. They hate advertising that intrudes on their lives without offering them anything worthwhile in return.

        The key thing is to engage people. Treat them with respect and give them a reason to interact with you. People spend hours looking for good content and they don’t care if that comes from an advertiser as long as they enjoy it.

  3. Marc Foley / Oct 26 2010 10:56

    Print will never die. Imagine riding the underground and every ad was replaced with interactive screens, no one would bother. Print works really well in situations where users have little time.

    This also needs some referencing
    Currently, consumers spend most of their time online, on social networks and on their mobile phones.

  4. Shib / Oct 26 2010 23:13

    Nothing ever dies, it just changes. And I think this is exactly what has happened with print, well kind of.

    Print has always been there to create awareness, since advertising began, if you were selling your product to the mass market you would create a print / tv ad to let people know about it. Simple.

    Obviously with the ever evolving digital channel we can now target people better, we can speak to little niches within the mass market, we can create ideas that people want to talk about, be a part of etc.

    I think print will always remain in the role it has had from day one, to create awareness to a large crowd of people, simple. It drives traffic, awareness and anything else. Digital just allows us to take awareness to the next stage by creating an opportunity for one to one communication.

    The problem is when online is used in the same wayas print – banner ads don’t work ‘cus they are highly untargeted so it’s like print ads, highly passive unless you are in the market at that particular time for that product. Diigtal comes alive when we create experiences that get our message across in a more compelling way then simply shouting – the old cliche, the best advertising on the net isn’t in fact advertising. Think old spice man, meerkat etc.

    It’s all a ploy for product trial, interest – but I guess that was advertising has always been about, just how we achieve it has moved on!

    Woah, my post comment turned into a ramble. I’ll stop now.

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