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Print Advertising Strategies: 6 Keys to Achieve Effective Print Ads

The 6 Keys to Effective Print Ads

When analyzing creative print advertising, you should look for six key factors to determine whether or not the ad will make a significant impact and be as effective as possible. Let’s outline the rules of the formula. First, no category is more important than any other. Second, effective print ads that consistently fill all six are considered great ads, but ads that fill just four of them need more work. Third, a handy mnemonic can help you remember the six categories: SIMPLY. Now that you understand the formula, let’s look at each category in depth and try to understand what role it plays in the execution of great advertising.

Effective Print Ads Are Strategic

Does the ad fulfill the strategic goals of the brief? A single piece of print advertising will fulfill multiple strategies. There is a business strategy, which deals with finances and operations and ensuring that the business is running effectively. Then, there’s the marketing strategy, which is part of the business strategy, which ensures that the organization’s marketing is meeting all the objectives necessary to move product. Finally, there’s the print communications strategy, which is part of the marketing strategy. This is the key message being delivered.

The communications strategy is the only strategy the creative advertising team concerns itself with. Sometimes the communications strategy is passed down from the client in the creative brief. Other times it’s developed internally by the creative team. In either case, the advertisement must clearly communicate the strategic message to be effective.

Effective Print Ads Are Intrusive

Is the ad different enough to cut through the clutter? In high clutter media, like magazines and television, advertising needs to stand out in order to be effective. Does your ad pop off the page or the screen? But the right level of intrusiveness is a fine line. Anyone can make an intrusive TV spot. Just imagine a seizure-inducing array of lights and the steady whistle of a tea kettle. With an interruptive medium like advertising, we tread a fine line to be more intrusive than “excuse me” but less intrusive than “everybody look at me.”

Effective Print Ads Are Memorable

Will people remember the ad and its message? One of the ways we do this in advertising is through the use of triggers. One of the best examples of the use of a trigger to make an ad memorable is Geico’s “It’s Hump Day!” campaign. The Hump Day campaign has a triggered recall every Wednesday. That’s why views of the Hump Day commercial on YouTube spiked every Wednesday. Some of the most memorable ads are funny or emotional. Memorable ads tend to be simple and creative.

Effective Print Ads Are Persuasive

Does it affect change? Ads that don’t persuade someone to do something are just entertainment. One of the best ways to ensure that your ads are persuasive is to write it directly into your strategic objective. An example of a communication strategy that encourages the creative team to develop persuasive ads starts with “Persuade the audience…” For example, “Persuade the audience that our toilet paper is the softest toilet paper anywhere.”

Effective Print Ads Are Lasting

Does it provide the foundation to run multiple executions under the same concept? When a concept “has legs,” it’s a big enough idea that you can duplicate the results time and time again. A great example of an ad campaign with lasting value is Mastercard’s Priceless campaign. The same concept of “priceless” can be applied to endless situations without losing its message. That’s why the campaign has been running since 1997.

Effective Print Ads Are Yours

Is your brand the only brand that could run this commercial? IBM is Smart. American Express is Exclusive. Chobani yogurt is Real. Does your ad reflect your core brand positioning? A great print ad tells a story that your brand is a part of. It’s a story that couldn’t be told without your brand.

Thanks for reading our blog post about effect print ads and print ad strategies. If you need help with print or digital marketing, please check out the variety of capabilities Ballantine offers. Contact us today for more information.

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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!