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Beyond the Page: What Print Ads Should Be Taking Inspiration From

In a sea of marketing, print ads are often lost on Millennial consumers. Video and social media campaigns integrated into their daily browsing have the ability to catch their attention by speaking out loud and sparking conversation. Meanwhile print is grazed over as easily as the turn of a page; that is, if they are interacting with traditional print publications at all. Only 13% of Millennials say that print ads are the kind of advertising that most influences their shopping and purchasing decisions.
But it isn’t all bad news—only 18% say that they never pay attention to print ads, compared to 32% who named online ads and 25% who named emails. So Millennials are noticing some print ads, but branded pages aren’t managing to influence them. It could be that print ads are due for a full makeover to adjust to this consumer group and step up their marketing game. Giving a print ad life beyond the page is one major way to catch the attention of Millennials, who are looking for innovation and want brands to show they can provide both creativity and utility. We’ve found recent examples of brands and organizations that are pushing print beyond the page. Though not every brand can produce print ads on this scale, these original, inventive approaches can serve as marketing inspiration for anyone who wants to make their print ads count:
Nivea Protégé 
Cosmetics brand Nivea has launched a print campaign for Nivea Sun Kids sunscreen in Brazil that manages to integrate technology and appeal to parents. Wanting to help families with “that other beach problem” of kids wandering off, the brand provided a print ad that doubles as useful tech. The page includes a detachable strip that becomes a reusable humidity-resistant bracelet to track kids at the beach. After downloading a special Nivia Protégé app and synching it with their specific bracelet, the app will tell parents how far away the child is, and allow them to set a maximum distance the child must stay inside of. If the child goes outside the allotted zone, an alarm will sound and the bracelet will show precisely where the child has wandered. We’ve already seen that Millennial parents are making hyper-monitered childhoods the norm, and tech like this fits right in with their desire to keep tabs on their offspring in digital ways. This tech-forward approach to a print ad transforms marketing into something that lives on beyond the page, and directly benefits the consumer. The concept could also be used in packaging or other printed material to elevate what would normally be thrown away into something useful and memorable, and create a new layer of connection with the brand.
The Bible of Barbecue
Tramontina, a leading cookware brand in Brazil, wanted to create a promotion showing that the brand “knows everything about making the perfect barbecue.“ With the help of JWT Brazil, Biblia Definitiva Do Churrasco—The Bible of Barbecue—was born. The book is full of tools to create the perfect barbecue experience, and we’re not talking recipes. The pages of The Bible are made to be ripped out and used—one is a thick sheet of charcoal, one a knife sharpener, another a sheet of salt that can be crumpled onto meat; a sheet of tinfoil to wrap potatoes, an apron, tray, cutting board, napkin, and more all lie within the book’s chapters. The Bible of Barbecue was only given to a few select master barbecue chefs, but a simplified version is being created by the agency to be sold in stores. JWT described the book as “a sensory fusion of tactile experience, visual design, and most importantly a tribute to the brilliant flavors that result from expert cooking.” This is an extreme example of print marketing that serves an imaginative and surprising purpose beyond the page. The idea might not be easily replicated, but can be inspiration for individual print ads that can be ripped out and used as something consumers would actually want.
The Drinkable Book
3.4 million people die each year from water-borne diseases. To help to fight against those diseases, charity organization WATERisLIFE and social creativity agency DDB New York have created The Drinkable Book, a manual with pages that both educate and save lives. While the book’s first purpose is to teach about safe water tips and the dangers of consuming water infected with diseases, each page can also be used as a filter to kill those diseases and make water drinkable. The book contains 24 pages coated with silver nanoparticles that kill diseases, each one with two filters that last 30 days, so a reader of The Drinkable Book can have clean water for up to four years. The pages kill 99.9% of contaminated water’s bacteria count. 100 copies of the book have been printed in English and Swahili to be sent to Kenya to help recipients both learn about the risks of contaminated water and avoid them. The innovation of The Drinkable Book could revolutionize the way that water is filtered, but it can also serve as inspiration: when printed materials can be given a new, positive, sustainable purpose, their value is almost immeasurable. The Drinkable Book is of course not technically marketing, but its social good purpose and the tactile function of the pages could be replicated in smaller ways for brands who want to use their print ads to make lives a little better.