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Print is dead

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Or is it? No we’re not following the footsteps of Socrates. We’re just fussing over the decade-old question that’s earned a black or white answer from the advertising fraternity. And while we add our two bits, we’d like to take you along – so that you can step out of the grays and find an answer for yourself.

Print’s your invisible hero.

‘Let’s make headlines.’ Quick question. Where did this phrase come from? Now, were you thinking newspaper or the first fold of a website? With over 18 families of paper, 3 categories of ink, and a legacy dating back to 4,000 BC – Print still reigns the throne of modern communication. Why then, do we feel like it’s dying?

Because, we’ve taken Print for granted. That newspaper you get in the morning with your milk? It’s as ingrained into your daily life as the bus you take to work or the loyal mug of coffee that gets you through the week. In fact, go back as far as you can – you’ll find that our humble guy, Print, was always there. Even if we were to step away from newspapers, there’s no dearth in the number of times Print pops out to greet us, every day.

Print’s a time machine.

Anyone agreeing that ‘Print is dead’ has to process the word irony. The whole world is rummaging through the bygone era and redefining the basics as ‘au naturel’. We’re trying so hard to have the best of both worlds that the hashtag ‘#vintage’ (last we checked) has over 55,640,328 posts on Instagram! And let’s not forget to read between the lines here – we’re using digital to flaunt something analog.

Print’s a great pitcher.

The world of advertising has seen a lot of new channels and has swept up the consumers in a digital wave. But even between electronic billboards and phone adverts, any good communication agency will always vouch for the effectiveness of Print. Whether brochures, newspaper inserts, or great packaging – Prints got the trump card in making a sale because it follows the unsaid, three-step rule. A – Make personal contact, B – Make information easily accessible, and C – Make it memorable. It’s no surprise then that 67% of all online brand searches stem from offline marketing.

Quick tip: Pick direct mail over email as 80% of all traditional mail is opened, while 80% of all email is ignored.

We heart Print.

This is a reality that we can’t escape (apart from traffic jams and pineapple on pizzas). As humans, we’re invariably attached to things that are multisensory in nature. Why? Because the same part of the brain that processes our senses, is responsible for storing memories as well. It’s no surprise then that Print delivers a strong sensory experience by tying in touch, sight, and sometimes even smell. So whether you decide to emboss over leather, engrave into stone, or etch onto wood – the dictionary of printmaking opens up a world of delight that you’re bound to treasure.

We crave Print over pixels.

October 27, 1994. When the very first digital banner ad was released, the human race was drawn to its novelty. Thousands of companies emptied their funds to jump onto the digital bandwagon and gain the first-mover advantage. But since then, much has changed. Today, digital adverts have earned the hatred of consumers who befriend ad blockers to escape the wave of push advertising. We now turn to things that don’t involve the ‘white screen’, choosing magazines over e-mailers and real experiences over virtual journeys.  

Afterthought: While we’re here, let’s not forget another endless debate – Kindle vs Books. 60% of all downloaded e-books in the US are never read, despite their perceived popularity. Who knew!

Print’s got a new family.  You can access this multiverse, right here, right now. There’s a whole wide world where Print never ‘died’, never ceased to amaze, and is still the go-to choice of many. These ‘Print Purists’ are seen sitting with their newspaper crossword in trains, buying Egyptian papyrus off Amazon, and collecting postcards from around the world.

Inside info: Speaking of postcards, this industry now offers themed, detachable, and color-in postcard books by artists like Johanna Basford and Zoe de Las Cases.

Print lives on.  

It’s called a box of memories for a reason. And not a folder of files. When you open this box, you can expect a few cards, carnival tickets, worn-out books – and everything ‘printed’. What we’re getting at is this: we’re humans, not robots. We naturally ‘prefer’ things in analog, in Print. And what truly touches us is this very Print. We might explore digital, but that’s again only to make our experience richer. Take for example how Curved TV as a technology was only brought in to make the viewing experience more real.

Our sound logic is best illustrated thusly – you maybe reading this online, but we both know that if you’d have to save it, the best way would be to snip it out and file it like the good ol’ days. If you agree with us then, without further ado…

… say hello to Print!

Marketing Maximus Magazine
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