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Why Print Ads Beat TV Ads Every Time

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 11:36 AM |


What do you suppose would happen if print advertising and television advertising went head-to-head, or rather, foot-to-foot in the World Cup finals? Print ads would score more goals and beat TV ads hands down, er, feet down.

Here’s why:

Print Ads Have Real Speed

Now I’m not a real soccer fan myself, as you can guess from my faux pas of calling it “soccer” instead of “football.” At any rate, from what I understand of the game, the idea is to get the ball waaaaaay down the field and into the goal, and from what I understand of sports in general, the best and easiest way to do this is by using speed.

Print Ads Have Real SpeedNot only do print ads allow you to get your brand’s message out quickly, they also make it easy to change those ads as quick and often as necessary. Let’s stick with our World Cup analogy and suppose your company sells sporting merchandise. If, over the weekend, team USA wins the World Cup, you can run an ad in Monday’s sports section of the local paper offering championship apparel for sale. TV ads, on the other hand, take far more time to produce and get on the air, so the opportunities to take advantage of news and events that are trending are far fewer.

TV Ads are More Affordable

Producing TV commercials is costly, not to mention the fact that once your costly ad is made, you then need to buy even costlier airtime to get it in front of your audience. Print ads come in a variety of sizes making almost anyone’s budget able to purchase space.

Any Time Exposure

Print ads allow for unlimited “any time” exposure. While TV ads are scheduled and only shown a certain number of times per day, prospects have the potential exposure to print ads at virtually any time. As long as newspapers and magazines will be left on coffee tables, kitchen tables, bus seats and taxi cab seats, your ads can be viewed multiple times by multiple readers.

On top of that, giving out a phone number or web address on a TV commercial will send people into the other room looking for a pen. But how easy is it for people to simply cut out a newspaper ad with all of the vital information right in it? Real easy.

People Just Like Print Ads BetterWhy Print Ads Beat TV Ads Every Time

People have never really much cared for TV ads. In fact, I am certain that is why remote controls were invented, so an individual could flip past the commercials from the comfort of their recliner. And now, with DVRs and streaming video, prospects can ignore TV commercials altogether.

People tend to like print ads, though, because they are non-intrusive. Print media allows readers to have control over when they view the ads, completely eliminating interruptions.

Choice of Location

Oftentimes you have no control over which time slot your TV ad is aired. Handing over big money and hoping for the best ROI – that’s just ASI (ad spend insanity). When it comes to print ads, you have control over where the ad is placed, which allows for the highest chance of visibility and biggest ROI.


Watching television is a very passive experience that many people do while doing something else, for example, talking on the phone, folding laundry or surfing the Internet. Newspaper and magazine readers, on the other hand, are truly focused on the content and engaged with the messaging.

Because of this personal and tactile experience with printed material, print ads build your brand through the credibility of the publication and readers consider your brand as a leader in your industry.


In many ways, print is an ideal advertising medium because it is engaging, creative, available in both large and small numbers, and offers flexible options for all kinds of budgets. If you haven’t incorporated print into your marketing mix, what are you waiting for?

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


Image credit: Annie LeibovitzBundesliga

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