February 7th, 2014 | Chris Lloyd

Making Print Work in the Digital Age

Motorola is proving creativity can teach an old dog new tricks

Open (or likely click on) a typical marketing industry publication today and it will tell you that we’re all going digital. Oh, you haven’t allocated budget for mobile advertising in 2014? Well then all is lost. Not often you hear that PRINT is where you should be placing ad dollars these days. Some have even gone as far as to say say “print is dead”.

But this isn’t stopping everyone. Some companies are rising to the challenge, and getting attention—not only for successful ads but for creatively embracing the charming medium.

Playing up the customizable features of their Moto X phone, this Motorola ad featured in Wired’s January 2014 issue uses polycarbonate paper and LED light pipes, allowing the reader to try each color option immediately. It fuses playful technology with print while highlighting the phones most exciting consumer feature.

Motorola used a similar approach for some larger scale projects last year, changing the color of bus awnings and store fronts to match people’s clothing as they stand or walk by.

When you’re done gawking at this new breed of print ad peacocks it is important to remember that numbers don’t lie. In the Wall Street Journal ZenithOptimedia predicts that “spending on digital-media ads will surpass the combined total of ad spending on newspapers and magazines ads in 2015.” And with stats like that there is no doubt it’s necessary to pay attention to digital and mobile.
But print advertising is not dead, it’s evolving.

A well-developed, multi-channel campaign including innovative print can have some strong staying power. Print lingers. We scroll quickly through web publications, close our browser tabs and reboot our computers only to find hundreds of new ads all in a different place than before. But a good print ad will get passed around, and a great one will downright beg for repeat exposure from a pile on your coffee table.

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