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Print Matters to Brands for Effective Consumer Connect

India is a unique market is a widely accepted fact. It is true of media consumption habits too. Unlike other countries which are seeing negative or at best very sluggish growth in print media, in India print is of the largest consumed media and growing at a steady pace. This holds even more true of language newspapers – with their ear to the ground, complete understanding of consumers’ pulse, local & hyperlocal content and emotional connect; their readership is on the rise.  

Having said that, globally too evolved brands are using print in an effective manner. An interesting example that comes to mind is the interactivity brought in by Head & Shoulders in their print ad. The ad was plain back on one side. They invited readers to test whether their head had dandruff by scratching it on the paper. Behold, if there was dandruff, some of it stuck to the black paper. Wouldn’t this advertising encourage people to use anti-dandruff shampoo? Simple, interactive and effective.

A quick mention of two other global print ads that bagged awards and accolades in 2018: First, DDB Dusseldorf’s ‘Highlight the Remarkable,’ print campaign that won at the Cannes Lions, and brought into focus not only the brand Stabilo but also the cause. The campaign highlighting the women in historic photographs who might otherwise be overlooked became viral on social media.  The campaign succeeded in highlighting the brand as well as achieving high recall for it. It used the product’s utility itself to draw attention to it. In no other medium would the ad have been as effective as it was in print.


Second, and perhaps even more amazing were Ogilvy Chicago’s long copy ads for shoe polish brand Kiwi. Each ad showed the real footwear of a famous figure accompanied by detailed story of their first step towards a history making journey. The story written in a captivating style is a compelling read, is inspiring and has a strong message. In the end the brand emerges a winner. A long copy ad most would have read end to end. Interestingly, without any brand mention in the long copy an impeccable synergy has been created. Once again, the medium has been put to a great use.

Last but not the least an ad from India - Harpic Ad that bagged award at Cannes 2018. The brand promised a free matrimonial ad for prospective brides in India’s number one daily ‘Dainik Jagran’ if they put five additional words in their matrimonial ad ‘ghar mae swachch shochalaya zaroori’. 30% of would-be-brides used these five words in their ads making the campaign a humungous success.

Sector Watch:

Amit Sethiya, Head Marketing, Syska group

Print medium definitely completes the core IMC (integrated marketing communications) planning of any brand. There are enough and more examples of brands which are truly online but even then, they have to rely on a traditional medium like print to acquire new customer base.

In order to register the brand presence in print, the players need to plan consciously the exposures and frequencies accordingly which makes the entire participation very thought through which is not the case when it comes to easy medium like digital. This invariably brings more credibility to the brand which consumes print media.

With newspapers getting fragmented in terms of genres, languages and formats, it gives easy targeting metric to the marketers. In last 10 years, we have seen lot of interesting innovations brought out by the print industry which has helped the brands to not only capture the attention but also connect with the readers. Print definitely has the upper hand in communicating the value propositions which are either time bound or are highly geographic in nature and these attributes ensure that the medium is serious and relevant.


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