Three Show-Stopping Print Ads
(and How to Make Yours More Memorable)
Does your brain ever feel tired?
Some days, that’s probably due to information overload. It's been said that the average person living in the city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day. Today, experts estimate we are exposed to over 5,000 brands per day (though research suggests only three percent of ads actually make a lasting impression).
But amidst the explosion of digital advertising, industry reports remind us that print holds steady. 70% of Americans prefer to read on paper, and 67% prefer printed materials over email. Additionally, 55% of consumers say they trust print marketing more than any other advertising messages.
Want to evoke emotions with your next print masterpiece? Draw from three creative examples of print ads that recently stole the show.
Keloptic: Bringing Life Into Focus
Keloptic is an online optician that sells sunglasses and eyewear.
Looking for a clever way to express value, Keloptic took classic impressionistic paintings and added clarity. In one example, viewers gaze at Van Gogh’s post-impressionistic self-portrait through the lens of an overlaid pair of glasses. The portrait, known for its abstract brush strokes and blurry color scheme, leaps into view as the glasses bring Vincent’s face into focus. His eyes penetrate from the page while the whiskers of his beard bring a sense of dramatic 3D texture. In contrast, Van Gogh’s body (appearing outside the eyeglass lenses) remains dull and fuzzy.
Add Your Twist: By allowing viewers to experience the difference Keloptics glasses make, the optician taps into the needs and emotions of its viewers. When crafting your ad, look to clearly reveal how your service can change a bad situation into a better one.
Jeep: See What You Want to See
Jeep is well-known for its terrain vehicles, manufacturing cars that can take you anywhere (so you can “see what you want to see”).
Jeep’s marketers used this motto to design print ads with a variety of animals shown from different viewpoints. The ad’s rugged burlap background featured taglines printed normally (but also upside down!) to alert viewers to the alternate ad angle. As the ad is rotated, vintage drawn animals morph into another species (like a giraffe transforming into a penguin, or an elephant into a tropical bird).
Add Your Twist: By matching its motto with an interactive photo, Jeep gives viewers the power to control their user experience. Play on your customer’s perceptions by using hidden pictures, adding 3D elements that leap off the page, or by using clever messages that make readers dig for deeper meaning.
Images convey emotion in ways words never can.
Pedigree puts this principle to work in an ad highlighting adoption. Featuring two side-by-side photos of a man standing on an empty beach, one ad showed a man standing alone with a downcast countenance. In the next image, the man’s head is drooping for a reason: because he’s looking at his dog. The gleeful canine sports a tail in mid-wag and a big sloppy smile. The first ad contains no text, while the second says this: “A dog makes your life happier. Adopt.”
Add Your Twist: Pedigree’s ad is effective because it contrasts a need (loneliness) with a solution (a companion). Since Pedigree is selling to people WITH dogs (not those without dogs), this sentimentality directly appeals to the emotions of its best clients. When selling to the heart, use contrasting images, problem/solution narratives, and graphics that convey an immediate, obvious message.
Tactile, Memorable Print
Print is nothing if not tactile. Use this to your advantage by creating ads that are relatable, memorable, and clear.
Have fun, and make your message stick!
Fool-Proof Headline Formulas
Headlines matter. A lot.
Researchers estimate that in today’s content-saturated culture, only 8 out of 10 readers make it past the headline of most pieces. In 2016, an academic study of bit.ly links to BBC, CNN, Fox News, New York Times, and Huffington Post articles found that 59 percent of the links were never clicked.
And even if you do get readers past the front door, you still need to bring them to a point of purchase.
Which headlines best engage readers and maximize response? Here are three headline formulas to increase your conversions:
"The Best" List Headlines
Readers are selfish.
When they engage with content, they want something of value.
Think about it from your own perspective. What kind of “hacks” grab your attention? Weight loss? Easy savings? Life management tricks? Most people wish to avoid sifting through information, so “best” headlines offer fast and easy value.
Best list headlines use a formula like this: The __ Best Ways to Get ______
The trick to this headline is to be concrete in your wording and to ensure corresponding content backs up your claim. Here are three examples:
- The 20 Best Ways to Make Money on a Side Hustle
- The 12 Best Ways to Make the Most of Your Commute
- The 8 Best Ways to Give a Non-Threatening Sales Pitch
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is real. Just think of how tempting some phony clickbait ads can be!
FOMO headlines are a compelling motivator because they are time-sensitive and prompt vulnerability in the reader. As an entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions when crafting a threat-of-loss headline:
-- What damage or cost can my service help people avoid?
-- How will acting today save them money or inconvenience?
-- If they forget to respond, who might they disappoint?
FOMO headlines use this formula: You’ll Be _______ if You _____________
- You’ll Kick Yourself if You Miss This Early Registration Discount
- Your Wife Will Be Stranded if You Cut Corners on Seasonal Auto Maintenance
- You’ll Lose $200 if You Delay Your Renewal
You can use threat-of-loss headlines for both serious and light-hearted topics, so have fun and be specific!
One of the best ways to grab readers is to engage curiosity to affect change.
People are painfully aware of their shortcomings, so arouse their need to educate themselves so they can avoid danger or uncertainty. Tell them how they’re wasting time, losing money, missing out on helpful technology, or unintentionally hurting someone.
Curiosity headlines use a formula like this: What You Don’t Know About _______ Can _______
- Here’s What You Don’t Know About Electric Cars That Could Bust Your Budget
- Here’s What You Don’t Know About SEO That Could Harm Your Business
- Here’s How Grain-Free Dog Food Can Increase Canine Heart Disease
Write Powerful Headlines They Won’t Ignore
Dull headlines tell consumers your content will be just as lifeless.
Do you want to elevate your headlines from mediocre to marvelous? Use the threat of loss, curiosity, or sneak peeks at the “best” options to boost curiosity, grab readers, and move people to purchase.
Call us for Ideas!
Use Themed Calendars as a Strategic Marketing Asset
In a digital world cluttered with text messages, pop-up ads, and spam, sometimes paper products hit the sweet spot when it comes to organization.
As the end of the year approaches, client and employee gifts may be on your to-do list. Themed calendars are a clever marketing asset that can serve as a unique token of gratitude.
Calendars are practical for everyone, offering branded staying power while conveying your business goals in a way that’s customized to the interests of your audience.
Looking for a few creative ideas? Here are three strategies to capture unique calendar themes.
1. Identify Your Goals.
Each company has its own high-profile days.
Whether you run a real estate company, a chiropractic clinic, or a financial consulting firm, there is a calendar theme that can be tailored to your needs. Start your design by identifying your goals. Do you want to generate more end-of-year orders? Keep employees on track for milestone deadlines? Sell more gym memberships?
Specify concrete goals you want to achieve and tie them to graphics or promotional themes that will build momentum for your business.
2. Schedule Your Promotions.
Did you know one of the busiest days for Papa Murphy’s Take-and-Bake pizzas is Valentine’s Day?
Each year on February 14, the company generates tons of sales from heart-shaped pizzas and s’more dessert delights. The key? Combining deliberate calendar planning with irresistible product promotions.
Every business has crazy seasons and slow seasons, and planning ahead can provide strategic opportunity to offset these challenges. Do you traditionally see a slump or spike in your business during critical months? Call these out in your calendar by placing special promotions in the calendar, or prepping team members with personalized perks or reminders within your calendar design.
Whether it’s the biggest sales day for local bakeries or the top period when shipping companies miss their delivery guarantees, highlighting seasonal trends can set you up for success.
3. Combine Calendars with Loyalty Incentives.
Rewards programs, freebies, and giveaways always make customers feel special.
Did you know eight out of 10 U.S. consumers own at least one giveaway item, and 60 percent of people who receive a promotional gift keep it for up to two years? Consider coordinating your calendars with themed swag or surprise incentives to keep loyalty levels high while generating significant growth.
According to the 2018 Trust Barometer report, over time, returning clients spend 67% more than new customers. Research estimates that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%!
365 Days of Exposure
Calendars come in many formats: desktop, magnet, peel and stick, or even posters.
Want to find just the right product for your needs? From triangular desk calendars to transparent covers, we are happy to help you design the perfect promotional calendar. Keep your audience engaged with 365 days of exposure for your business!
5 Elements of Stunning Letterhead Design
Personalized mail is a special commodity these days, especially something that looks smart or sophisticated.
And everyone agrees that there’s a huge difference between a typed letter on a bland white page and one aligned smartly on a beautifully designed letterhead.
While many view letterhead as an afterthought, it’s time to raise the standard!
A sharp letterhead can communicate proficiency, increase response rates, and make your communication more memorable. As you craft a unique, professional look, here are some elements to help you cement your image without overplaying your hand:
1. Embrace Simplicity
One of the guiding principles of letterhead design is to make it flow simply.
While it’s important that your letterhead looks and feels great in the hand, it should still play second fiddle to the communication itself. If designs are too bold, you run the risk of competing with the page content to demand reader attention. When in doubt, simple is best.
2. Represent Your Brand
Letterheads present companies with a great opportunity to represent a brand with sharp fonts, crisp logos, and subtle borders or shading.
Look for ways to draw the designs of your website, envelopes, and letterhead into a more cohesive unit and add some extra depth to your marketing mix. When trying out size contrasts, try to balance the shape of your images with the offset to create a connected design.
3. Don't Be Afraid of White Space
Like silence between musical notes, a break between elements communicates elegance and ensures a quality user experience.
White space is not “wasted” space, instead, it balances elements, organizes content, and creates spatial proximity so your readers can digest information quickly and simply. Use generous amounts of white space between a large heading and a block of subtext. Or experiment all text flush left or flush right to create more white space between margins.
4. Use Colors Wisely
On printed letterhead, nothing communicates like color.
Use color strategically to draw attention to specific areas of your letterhead, or to add subtle shading to a more grayscale design. If your brand features bright and bold colors, it may be best to use color sparingly in the letterhead but more prominently in your envelope design or packaging. Color can make or break the success of your design, so tread lightly.
5. Don’t Overlook Details
The most critical information to communicate in letterhead is your contact info.
Who is writing the letter, a company or an individual? Decide which pieces of information are critical and build your design around this hierarchy. Keep key information obvious and reduce print size for lower priority info. If you are updating designs or re-ordering, take a fresh look at your materials. If the company you are sending to no longer utilizes a fax machine, perhaps it is best to omit this number. If your organization is larger, consider tailoring several letterhead designs to specific departments.
Letterheads remain an integral part of a brand’s marketing mix. Inject new energy into your designs with thoughtful layouts, creative contrasts, or complementary envelopes that keep your messages stand out in a crowd!
Call Us for Ideas
In today's visually-oriented market, brand persona is everything.
Strong, simple visuals go a long way toward giving you a rock-solid image to stand tall above competitors and to capture customer attention. While companies work hard to shape outbound marketing, they can easily overlook options for the packaging and presentation of their products. Even simple tweaks can go a long way in making your brand shine!
Custom printed labels can offer a durable, stunning accent to your product or printing. But there are many variables when it comes to printing labels. From the right materials to laminate finishing, it's hard to know where to begin. Here are a few tricks we've learned over the years to help you craft labels to heighten brand appeal.
Less is More.
When it comes to labels, it's important for your message to connect immediately. When a label has complex fonts or busy designs, it can be difficult for readers to engage with your product. Keep your designs, images, and borders clean and simple for maximum user experience. If you post nutrition facts, make them as concise and reader-friendly as possible. Non-standard shapes or labels that match your package size are a great way to bring precision and flair.
Color is King.
Want to stop them in their tracks?
Colors command attention and make your message sing.
Try splashes of color against neutral backgrounds, or complementary colors that bring depth and warmth. If your label intends to communicate flavors, seek to pair colors that carry these natural associates (like greens for lime or orange for citrus). As you design label colors, your goal is to help users find or associate with your product more easily. If you already have a branded color scheme, use this as your prominent theme. Colors help customers recognize your product and feel secure when they purchase in the future.
Nothing says sleek like a perfectly sketched font. Work to find the right balance of clean and clever. If a font is too generic, it will be easily missed. If it's too wild, it may be hard to read or seem silly. Stick to a font you've branded your company with or use two fonts (max) to keep your label coherent and easy to read. Experiment with font pairings: consider a headline that's bold and condensed with a copy that's light or vertically stretched. Or try an all-caps serif with an italicized sans serif to compliment. Test your font pairings on volunteers or gather feedback from artistic friends before finalizing a design.
Labels help you build a personality. What message will you send? What ideas do you hope to convey?
Keep your labels consistent with your brand identity, looking for distinct features you can highlight or graphics that illustrate your story. 19 Crimes Wines uses an interactive "Living Labels" app to allow each wine to unveil a mystery. Fieldwork Brewing uses blown up oceanside photos for its Island Time Sour Ales. Fit Buns High Protein Bread comes in a box that makes the pastries look like a ripped dude's abdominal "6-pack." The label also conveniently features a free fitness center coupon inside. Also, remember to keep your contact information accessible so customers can visit your website or contact you with feedback. Let's face it: in the marketplace, beauty is often skin deep. Your label is a representation of the things you've worked hard to build, so go the distance to make your brand stick. Need ideas to get you started? From hangtags to custom adhesives, we're your one-stop shop for creative label options!
How Emotions Win Customers
Cassell’s Hamburgers is something of a Cinderella story.
Founder Al Cassell launched the iconic lunch counter in Los Angeles in 1948. Famous for grinding beef daily, Al’s passion for great burgers and homemade mayonnaise lived for years. But by 2012, struggling owners decided to sell off Cassell’s rights, recipes, and equipment. It seems there was no magic touch that could save this beauty.
Jingbo Lou had other ideas.
As a Chinese exchange student, Lou came to the U.S. to study at the University of Southern California and developed a passion for architectural restoration that grew out curiosity for American culture:
“As an immigrant to this country, my very big task is to learn the culture,” Lou says. “I really fell in love with the history.”
J Lou put this love to work bringing Cassell’s back to life in a salvaged, crumbling 1920s inn called the Hotel Normandie. J Lou recognized a hotel/restaurant combo was a chance to cater to the nostalgia of many Californians.
And he was spot on.
Since Cassell’s reopening in 2014, the business has topped many “best of” lists and expanded into Downtown LA and a LAX location in Terminal 1.
Why such phenomenal success? Because emotions sell.
Emotions Win Customers
Brands build loyalty because emotions win customers!
While you may believe your decisions are rational, most choices are actually controlled by your intuitive (emotional) mind. Studies show that people rely on the heart, rather than on logic, to make decisions. Douglass Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing, says this:
“The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!”
Brands put emotional marketing in play by focusing more on the needs and passions of customers instead of on the unique product benefits their products bring.
For example, Pampers exalts healthy, well-rested infants instead of dry baby bottoms. Nike inspires people to overcome limitations instead of highlighting superior shoe quality. Harley sells people freedom without limits rather than offering a mode of transportation. And Cassell’s Hamburgers offers people a return to simpler days, including original chairs, tables, signage, and original menus hanging on the wall.
Want to enhance the emotional message your brand brings? Brand marketers suggest starting with steps like these:
- Treat prospects as people rather than buyers
- Give people multiple chances or channels to try or become familiar with your products
- Use ads with identity messages that motivate or move people
- Create a shared community among purchasers
- Inspire users to have dreams
- Offer messages that give people an experience, not just information
Create stories that allow your company to be part of people’s lives and appeal to every aspect of your customers’ personalities: their ego, needs, dreams, or general emotional state.
These connections can happen through music, artworks, logos, signage, slogans, sport, or anything that really ‘speaks to your customers.
Above all, emotional branding seeks to build lifelong partnerships between a business and its customers. Once someone is emotionally captured by a brand, they are more likely to stay loyal for decades.
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