written by: Olive Estrella Coronado•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 7/13/2011
Print ads are powerful tools you can use to get your message across to your target market. Before you plunge into creating your own ads, read on to view some great print ad samples and to learn how these samples effectively attract attention and boost sales.
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The Power of Print Ads
How many times have you stopped at a page to closely take a look at a print advertisement while flipping through the pages of a magazine or while reading the newspaper over your morning coffee? Every now and then, there's that attention-grabbing print ad that just catches your eye, makes you laugh out loud, stirs up your mind, or eggs you on to take action. These are the kinds of ads that you must aim for if you want people to take notice of your business.
A print ad is one important and powerful medium you can use to get your message across to your target market, and therefore establish better business. As such, it is essential to make it appealing to the people you are homing in on. It should be concise and inviting as well as informative.
With the advent of fantastic, user-friendly desktop publishing programs like Adobe Photoshop, it seems quite easy to go ahead and make your own print ad. You may have the technical skills, but you will have to learn the dos and don'ts of creating great ads that work.
So before you take that leap into designing your own ad, it would be helpful to view some samples of print ads that radiate with creativity and are considered quite effective in drawing the attention of their target audience. These advertisement samples will no doubt be valuable in squeezing out your creative juices and in helping you study the various aspects of design you will have to look into.
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The Creative Punch - The Picture Tells the Story
With the numerous ads out there, it is not easy to come up with one that will stand out and make an impact. It takes a huge amount of creativity to generate that unique image which will give out your message, and at the same time capture the interest of the market you are targeting for your product or service. It also requires much creativity to spawn the perfect headline or slogan that goes with your image.
Here are a few samples of print ads that radiate with such creative punch:
In this advertisement by AA or Alcoholics Anonymous, the picture of the broken tie clearly represents the simple but straightforward message "No Career Resists Alcoholism" and illustrates a dominant symbol of an occupation or profession being shattered into pieces. It is thus aimed at alcoholics who would like to stop their bad habit or at least get some help in order to avoid ruining their careers and their lives in general.
Sometimes, the image itself may be enough to get your message across such as in this HD TV ad. Using a very familiar and popular figure like Spiderman appeals to both children and adults. Showing this character taking some pizza off the table from the TV reflects the message of the print ad--- this TV can generate such clear and precise images that they seem so real.
This iPhone advertisement is very creative and fascinating. It makes use of a well-known movie icon which is the ship in the movie Titanic and the finger illustrates the message that such a movie can be accessed with just one click, since it is already available for the iPhone. With the short and simple text "All movies now in your iPhone", the entire message of the print ad is incredibly apparent.
Print ad samples like this one for Lotto 649 has a powerful image that is very symbolic and can instill its message in the subconscious of people. Because the lottery can make one an instant millionnaire, the picture of the ironing board getting ripped and morphing into a surfboard is certainly fitting. The ironing board represents manual labor or hard work while the surfboard denotes an easy, relaxing, and luxurious lifestyle. The ad did not have to put in any words at all to make that impact.
In the same way, this Heinz Tomato Ketchup print ad clearly shows its intended message with just a simple picture--- eating French fries without this ketchup will make the food taste like cardboard. Such can drive people to action without having to include fancy graphics or well thought-of lines. The ad does not have to say that the product tastes great and that it is good to eat with French fries.
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The Humorous Touch
A lot of advertisers also love going for the touch of humor that will certainly grab people's attention and will also evoke a positive response from them since the print ad will make them laugh and possibly feel good even for just a while. Many of these adverts also use little in the way of text, instead relying on the image to get the message across.
Take a look at the samples of funny print ads below:
In this KayaKing Jumbo Peanut ads, the image of the baby elephant choking because of the peanuts is catchy and funny because it represents something that cannot possibly happen in real life. It shows an irony since the elephant is considered a "jumbo" animal and yet it was not able to take in the peanuts. Thus, it emphasizes the trait of the snack which the advertiser wants potential customers to take note of--- the fact that the peanuts are really of jumbo size.
One look at this ad can make you break up into fits of laughter. The issue of bad breath is one that is usually used for gags and jokes, and that is why the picture here appeals to a broad range of people. It exaggerates the negative effect of bad breath, thereby making it funny. The illustration that the paramedics are the ones who suddenly need oxygen because of the patient's bad breath establishes the hilarious effect very well. At the same time, it shows why the product Listermint is important.
This print ad is for the activity-filled event for canine pets and their families sponsored by the popular dog food brand Purina. It is undoubtedly cute and amusing because of the unusual behavior of dogs shown. Where in the world can you find these animals lining up like people to go to their "bathroom" (which is a tree in this case)? Now there lies the humor that make such ads work.
Exaggeration, or putting animals or people in situations they would not normally be in, is one eye-catching tactic to use in your print ads.
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Ever wonder how certain print ads tickle the fancy of their target market? This is your chance to explore some effective print ads and discover the different styles and design elements that can guarantee the effectiveness of your own advertisements.
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The Real Highlight - Emphasis & The Use of White Space
Aside from funny and creative print ad samples, some advertisers go for just showing the simple truth about the product or service. These ads do not use symbolic representations, special graphics, or exaggerated pictures. They merely highlight the best feature in its straightforward reality.
Check out these ads that work with the "real deal":
This ad for Cathay Pacific explicitly promotes the new business class that it has to offer. The picture simply exhibits what is really there, and it is enough to make customers murmur their "oohs" and "aahs" and want to try it out for themselves. The lady's position also shows how one can actually enjoy the latest business class facilities of the airline's planes. The image is further emphasized by using a large amount of white space, therefore making the simple image the star of the page.
The Subaru print ad shown here openly shows how the actual car looks like and what it can do in reality. In this case, the highlighted aspect of the car is that it has great control when driven on road curves. This is an important and unique feature that can make prospective customers take notice because it advances the element of safety. Such a straight-to-the-point ad can also be effective.
This print ad for the Colombo Jewelry Stores displays the company's beautiful jewelry items as worn by an elegant-looking woman. While showing off the attractive features of the products themselves, it also gives the impression that these can make women look and feel more elegant and beautiful. The products are clearly highlighted and shown as how they really look like without any special effects.
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Doing It Yourself: The Design Know-How
Having viewed the print ad samples above, you must take note of the different things necessary for your print ad to be effective. What makes these ads work and how can you apply such characteristics to your own print ad?
Image. Remember that the image is a vital element of your print ad. You have to choose a striking image that can evidently illustrate the message of your business. Just like in the samples given, it is better to have just one powerful image that will convey the best feature of the product. Avoid putting in a lot of pictures, as this will cause distraction instead of focus and impact. People may get confused too and end up not getting the message of the ad. In line with this, it is imperative that you choose just one message to highlight. The more focused your ad is, the more effective it will be.
Text. When it comes to the text, use only a few words that people can easily read and commit to memory. Note that font design should be readable even from afar and should be appropriate too. For instance, you cannot use a Persian-themed font for advertising an American restaurant that sells burgers. It is more apt for a dining place that sells kebabs. If, for example, you have a headline and a slogan, make sure that the font size of the headline is significantly bigger. Also choose two contrasting fonts to use instead of similar-looking ones.
Layout. Make sure that your ad will not look cluttered with the fusion of the words and images. Carefully choose them and design a layout in which the most important words are given prominence while not taking away attention from the image. At this point, you must decide which you want to accentuate more, the text or the picture. It will not look good if both elements are of the same emphasis. Moreover, when you do the layout, do not try to fill up all the spaces. The more breathing room, the better--- unless you are aiming for a chaotic theme! Perhaps you are also wondering when it is good to just make do with an image and no text except for the brand name? The KayaKing Jumbo Peanut ad and the Listermint ad are examples of this style. If you feel that the image is enough to attract attention and to communicate the message, then you can do without extra text. On the other hand, if your company has a well-known slogan, it is advisable to include it.
The Familiar and Popular. In creating print ads that work, another important thing that you also have to consider is the use of familiar and popular figures, play of words, and the like. Do you recall the samples above that show Spiderman and the Titanic? These are famed figures that are bound to draw interest. You may also use popular one-liners such as "No man is an island" for a brand that promotes being sociable, or "It takes two to tango" for a product that is more enjoyable when shared. Then pick the ones that are fitting for your product or service, and which your target audience can relate to.
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"How to Create an Effective Print Advertisement" from Morning Star Multimedia website, URL: http://www.morningstarmultimedia.com/effective-print-advertising/
"Print Advertising Works" from NorthBay Biz website, URL: http://www.northbaybiz.com/General_Articles/General_Articles/Print_Advertising_Works.php
"How to Create an Effective Print Ad" from Dummies.com website, URL: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-create-an-effective-print-ad.html
Image Credits (in the order they appeared in the article):