What makes good print advertising these days? Does anyone even think about print anymore? Actually, they do since print overlaps with online display, FSIs, OOH and other media outlets for good creative. Our syndicated ad effectiveness panel tested 3,192 print ads last year, so we decided to look at the Top Five in today's post. We'll also see how they compare to the 160,000 ads in all media that we've measured over time. For information on using different media types in integrated campaigns, see our pillar page.
Out of 3,192 Ads, What Makes Print Advertising Great?
To get a sense of the magnitude of 3,192 print ads, take a look at the waterfall chart to the left. The continuous green line is made up of separate dots, each of which is a print ad. If we were "live" on the platform, we could mouse over each one and see the ads pop out. The yellow horizontal line is "average," so you can see there are more print ads that score below average than above. Bottom line, there's lots of opportunity for great creative!
Top Print Ad of 2018 - Green Giant's "Noodles with a Veggie Twist."
The top print advertising of 2018 all told some kind of story with their words and pictures. Green Giant has always stood for freshness and health and its products are hard to miss on the supermarket shelves. Here, a new story is told about veggie spirals, which have become the latest rage for those who want to avoid gluten or carbs and still enjoy the sense of eating pasta. Fun for the kids, too.
This simple but colorful ad scored a 138 on the ABX Index, which is in the top 99% of all 160,000 ads tested to date in all media. As you'll see in the scorecard summary below, Brand Awareness is strong due to the image of the giant. Message is 133, which is outstanding, meaning the headline conveyed exactly what was needed. Reputation, Relevance and Likability were huge, but most impressive were the Calls-to-Action, which were all favorable and included Intent to Purchase at 218 and others also in the 200 range. Remembering that 100 is average, this ad shows print is far from dead.
Häagen-Dazs "Crispy Layers"
This print ad is incredibly illustrated with each layer fully recognizable in this new ice cream flavor. Not only are they recognizable, but they look excruciatingly delicious. The story takes the theme line, "Extraordinary in every bite," and makes your mouth water.
The survey audience scored this with an ABX Index of 134 (top 98th percentile of all 160,000 tested ads) with clear Brand Awareness and Message, and big scores for Reputation at 203 and Likability at 195.
As with Green Giant, nearly all CTAs were positive and into the 200s, with Intent to Purchase at 235. Well done, Häagen-Dazs. Mere print advertising can accomplish so much!
This ad is almost painful to see. Can't you just imagine drawing your fork through that soft butter, syrup and fluffy pancake? The story here is you can literally taste this in your mind and, oh yeah, you can eat as many as you want. Another great example of how the product IS the message.
At an ABX Index of 132, this little print ad is in the 98th percentile of all ads measured with high likability and relevance and CTAs including Recommend and Talk About in the 200s and Intent to Purchase at 273. So simple with a great image.
We've all lived this story! We know what it's like to drop a trash bag and really see (and mop up) what 's inside? This story reassures us that Glad is so tough and strong, we never have to fear a broken trash bag again. I'm in.
At an ABX Index of 130, this ad is also in the top 98th percentile of all ads tested. Again, the story is simple, very visual and evoking of emotion. The only improvement might be larger logos since Brand Awareness was only 105, but the Message got through and impacted Reputation, Relevance and Likability. CTAs were all very strong, with Intent to Purchase at 236.
Heinz - "No One Grows Ketchup Like Heinz"
As I was reviewing ads for this piece, this Heinz ad caught my eye because of the perfect matching color of the tomatoes and the bottled ketchup. The illustration looks like the tomatoes were inhaled right into the bottles, which conveys a story of freshness. Again, a simple message but a great illustration and something to say.
This ad scored an ABX Index of 130, so it remains in the top 98%. Brand Awareness is very strong, reinforced five times in the ad. Message was good, though not as strong as the others we've seen - probably because the ad talks more about the product than what a consumer should do about it. But all scores did very well with Look For (191) Recommend (163) and Purchase at (226).
If you would like to see the full creative testing report on any of these ads, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be happy to send one to you.
Our next ABX ADvisory will explore what's working in Radio - a medium that is enjoying a great resurgence of interest after disappointing digital results.
How the ABX Testing is Done
ABX provides ad effectiveness scores from human respondents against 14 variables and in all media types. ABX Index values are a comparison of the results of an ad versus the average of all ads in the ABX database (160,000+ ads). Click for more information about definitions and methodology.
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