Just last month, the Guardian introduced “bigger, bespoke, cross-platform ad formats” with the launch of its new Web site, while developments such as Cxense’s 3D ads suggest online ads will continue to take new shapes and jump off our screens across publishers’ sites.
Yet it’s not just on digital platforms where this innovation is happening; newspapers are continuing to offer brands the opportunity to break out of the usual template in order to create a visual impact. In my opinion, the best print examples use the shape of the ad to reinforce the message being delivered.
Ford recently used a “Z” ad across a double-page spread in The Times to cleverly illustrate the LED headlights of the new Mondeo, with the shape of the ad allowing for a visual demonstration of how the lights can see around corners.
The same ad format was used by StudioCanal for the launch of the film, “Paddington,” with a very different effect. Rather than using the shape to niftily highlight a practical selling point, as with Ford Mondeo, the Paddington ad in The Telegraph reinforced the bumbling charm of the character by creating the impression that the bear had padded across the paper.
This creative was mirrored on the Telegraph’s home page, with the footprints appearing, one-by-one, across the screen when the ad was clicked.
Similarly, Goodstuff’s Find the Fairies campaign for Taylors of Harrogate embodied the flighty, impishness associated with fairies by having them nestled among the editorial of the London Evening Standard for two weeks.
Escaping the standard space allocated to advertising in the newspaper, six of the brand’s “flavour fairies” took flight across the pages, and readers could capture them via Blippar for a chance to win prizes.
The creative campaign resulted in 64% of the target audience agreeing that “their ads make me more likely to try Taylors of Harrogate” compared to a norm of 30% for a new campaign launch. Additionally, the partnership reached one million ABC1 women across London in newspaper format alone, while overall, there were 3,900 competition entries.
In the words of Laura Burton, brand manager at Taylor’s of Harrogate, the campaign “brought our creative to life, taking it beyond print advertising, and furthering the brand’s personality.”
These results show the effectiveness of “thinking outside the box” and there’s no denying that it’s eye catching when a newspaper ad breaks the standard mould. Skoda played on the tactic with a cross-shaped ad in The Daily Telegraph a few weeks ago, cheekily declaring “made you look,” to advertise the “attention-seeking” Skoda Fabia.
Decidedly more simple but equally as eye-catching, was this Dr. Oetker ad in the Guardian. Let’s be honest, a giant chocolate cake is never going to be short of attention. But I love the way the article is sandwiched by the gorgeous-looking sandwich cake.
Moving into the realms of 3D, in July 2014, Nescafe created a newspaper wrap, which included two pop-up mugs filled with instant coffee in a bid to encourage people to have a beverage and chat over their morning newspaper. This is a brilliant example of how newspaper ads can not only experiment with shape, but also physical form.
With Valentine’s Day coming up again, it’ll be interesting to see whether brands take the opportunity to stand out among the newspapers’ pages by using unusual shapes, embedding creative among editorial, or interacting with readers to form 3D models.
Jessie Sampson is communications executive at Newsworks in London, UK. She can be reached at Jessie.Sampson@newsworks.org.uk. This post is part of the Print Innovations blog on INMA.org.
Think all the movement and innovation within the media industry is focused on digital? Think again. INMA's Print Innovations blog taps into those most passionate about print within the industry to share strategies and best practices from the platform that is our foundation.