I don’t know about you, but I just love print. Reading on a screen is never as enjoyable to me as reading on paper. Photos viewed on a screen never bring such strong memories as those found in a real photo album.
But the truth is, there are many enthusiasts of digitalization around. On my left at work I have one such lover of Apple and Kindle. “Because they’re compact, light, and I can carry one in my bag…” she explains. And so in the past few years traditional press has seen a decrease in sales due to competition with the digital. “Let’s take a look at the latest results”, I say to myself when writing this article and go to a popular website monitoring the media market in Poland. The top three headlines about press sales are the following:
1) All TV weekly magazines see drop in sales (…)
2) Dropping sales of popular science and history magazines
3) “Cztery Kąty” with biggest decrease in sales among interior designing magazines (…)
Drop, drop, drop. Looking at the hard numbers, no wonder many people see print as an outdated tool. One of those people was (the past tense is not used here by accident, as you’re about to see) Corina Falussi, creative director at New York agency Ogilvy&Mather. Corina was a juror in the Cannes Lions 2016 international creativity competition in the Print&Publishing category. “I agreed to evaluate the projects, but from the start my expectations were low. Later I found out that there was a drop by 10% in the number of the works submitted in the Print&Publishing category as compared to the previous year, which only convinced me even more that I was going to grade a dying category and a dying medium”, she says. On her way to Cannes, famous for its posh residences and modern hotels, Corina felt like she was moving back in time. But one day of viewing the submitted works was enough to turn that scepticism into an inspiration. What was it that she saw there?
Let’s start with something big, mainly the Grand Prix which went to Burger King, with its winning project – a letter. One could assume that this outdated communication tool has nothing more to show – and surely can’t surprize anyone. Nevertheless, that letter must have had that “something” since it won the most important award… It wasn’t beautiful language. It wasn’t stunning graphics. It was the goal that went beyond the strict boundaries of business. Burger King bought a page in The New York Times and published an open letter to McDonald’s, offering cooperation in creating a limited edition of their common product. The brand suggested that both companies strike truce for one day, the International Day of Peace (September 21) to sell “McWhopper” – a combination of Big Mac (McDonald’s) and Whopper (Burger King) – a message of peace. This simple gesture started one of the most brilliant campaigns of the past year. The letter has heart and soul, and since it’s printed on paper – it gains power and is lasting. If such message appeared in the social media, it wouldn’t be so powerful.
In the case you’re about to know it wasn’t the rose-colored glasses that allowed to look into the future with optimism. Since about 75% of students giving up further education in Mexico are those with eye problems, the Mexican advertising agency Grey decided to accessorize school books for kids from the poorer regions with simple, paper, black glasses. What was unusual about the glasses was a large number of tiny holes precisely arranged one next to another. This innocent trick allowed children wearing such glasses see more clearly. They could experience in person that their vision problems are not everlasting and that their current condition does not determine their future. This experiment with the use of a simple insert was enough to encourage kids and allowed many of them to continue education.
Advertising message found in press can be impactful, and at the same time original and non-pushy. A perfect example of this is the New Zealand campaign “Paradise Hill” created in cooperation with FCB agency, Home magazine and It’s not OK group fighting against domestic violence. This issue of “Home’s” contents page includes a regular article on page 58. Once you get to that article, you see photographs of a high-end modern house and a smiling couple. But there’s something more. Each page of the article contains disturbing traces – dried blood on the handrail, a chair knocked over in the kitchen, a broken table in the living room… only when we get to the last page of the article do we learn the shocking truth – that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, including wealthy people with high social status. The idea harmonizes with the content of the issue and wasn’t an annoying interruption like many other typical advertisements. What’s more, it was widely commented on in other media, including Facebook and Twitter.
“I came to Cannes with a cynical attitude towards print, and I left full of inspiration and ready to search for new ways of using it. I realized that instead of trying to make paper something it will never be, you need to focus on emphasizing its strong points,” summarizes Corina Falussi.
What about you? Do you see and fully appreciate the potential of paper?