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Should You Be Investing in Interactive Print Campaigns?

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 @ 12:30 PM |


If you’re “of a certain age,” you may remember that old Reeses Peanut Butter Cup commercial where the guy with a chocolate bar runs into the girl with the peanut butter, and when they collide, magic happens. Magic in the form of a chocolatey-peanut-buttery delicious candy treat.

Of course the commercial is ridiculous because, were they really that shocked that chocolate and peanut butter would work so well together? I mean, was it such an outrageous concept?

But the same odd shock happens today with marketers who assume it’s print OR digital; like the two can’t beautifully marry into one delicious integrated campaign. But integration, particularly in the form of interactive print ads, is a growing trend among marketers who see the potential these ads offer.

What is interactive print?

Before we move onto the nuts and bolts of this marketing approach and whether or not your brand should invest in it, let’s talk about what interactive print actually is.

Though print advertising is a very tactile form of advertising (you’re holding that paper, turning the page and smelling the ink), it’s never been very interactive, in fact, most would say reading the newspaper is downright passive. But not long ago, some very clever print designers, along with some savvy marketers, started creating print ads that contained interactive elements.  For the first time, this allowed viewers to be active instead of passive when they saw the ad.

Typically, it is digital technology, like QR codes included in the ad, that provides the interactive element. With a smartphone QR scanner, a flat and lifeless magazine add can suddenly place the reader online, with numerous opportunities to engage with the brand. But it’s not just digital technology that can be leveraged; other technologies can be employed to foster an interactive experience.

To really understand how effective interactive print ads can be, have a look at some of the top interactive print campaigns from 2015. These ads tell the real story behind interactive print: If you can imagine it, other people can experience it.

The Case for Interactive Print CampaignsThe case for interactive print campaigns

Some trends come and go. The ones that go do so because they are little more than a gimmick; a flash in the pan. But you can hardly call interactive print marketing either. The truth is, with the increase of digital technology came a decrease in people’s attention spans. On top of that, while our ability to focus on just about anything has diminished, our appetite for real, relevant engagement has grown exponentially.

These shifts in consumer demand and behavior make the case for why interactive print would most likely be a sound investment for any brand. Consumers have little time or patience for popup ads or autoplay videos while surfing the web. At the same time, many are bored to tears when they receive an uninspired marketing mailout, which inevitably lands in the trashcan.

Interactive print combines the best of both digital and print worlds: the tactile-ness of print with the interactivity of digital media. On top of this, interactive marketing is compelling all brands, both national giants and small, local merchants, to push their creativity, and that’s never a bad thing, particularly from the audience’s perspective.

Print marketing will always be a highly effective method of getting your message in front of the right audience. But to hold their attention and get them to engage more with your brand, you’ve got to dedicate resources to creating innovative and inspiring ads.

Should you be investing in interactive print campaigns? Does chocolate taste great with peanut butter?

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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