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Nothing beats seeing your brand in print

Are print ads a thing of the past? In short, no. We don’t believe so, in any case. Having just concluded a run of print ads for Yasper in local business titles, we wanted to take a look at the benefits and opportunities on offer.


As ever, the key to advertising is audience. Look through any newspaper, magazine or even the local freesheet that comes through your letterbox, and you’ll see a wide variety of ad concepts. Some have clearly thought carefully about their audience and objectives, whereas others… not so much.


When we set up Yasper, one of the first things we thought about was how we’d actively promote our services. Particularly, given the need to raise awareness of our offer, we wanted to look at a cohesive comms campaign that would support launch.


Print was always going to be a part of this, because we know that our prospective clients – particularly in the Yorkshire region – read those print titles. What we didn’t want to do was just ‘book some print ads’. They needed to be part of a coordinated campaign that also included digital ads, SEO, PR and social media, among other tactics.


Most ad execs you speak to nowadays will try and sell-in a digital element to any order for print ads – but this is where strategy comes in. You need to be clear and targeted about your audience to get the best returns.


With one of our print suppliers, we also booked a digital element (in this case an expert opinion column) but with another we purely went with print, because we knew we’d get the digital exposure from other elements of launch marketing.


Next we come on to the creative angle. Again, audience is key. Once you’ve defined your audience, you need to plot out what you want them to think, feel, and do. That’s why we planned our ad campaign to be a trilogy.


  • Ad #1 announced our entrance onto the agency scene. This tells the people we know – but crucially those we don’t – who we are and what we do. We came up with the idea of ‘newness’ being integral to the first ad and went with the line ‘new kid on the block’. We wanted to inject an element of humour, so the ‘kid’ made an appearance as a baby goat (geddit) sat atop the Yasper logo. And what did we want our audience to do? Well awareness was part of it, but we also wanted them to interrogate the ad and click through to the website, hence the use of a simple QR code. Big props to designer James for his concept of using a graphical style we could roll out across the series.

  • Ad #2 developed the theme, but this time it addressed a specific sector we know and love: property and the built environment. We used the same graphical style, with a crane lifting one of the letters of the Yasper logo. The strapline was ‘Building your business? We can help’. This was designed to communicate that we’re more than just ‘new’ – we have the skills and ability to help our customers’ businesses grow.

  • Ad #3 was a head-scratcher for a while. We toyed with a number of ideas, until over the weekend of the Oscars it hit us: a movie poster! We’d been given feedback that while our ‘newness’ was a strength in some ways (communicating agility and the ability to do things differently), it raised some unintended questions around our size and capacity. Using this insight, we developed an ad that communicated the strength in depth we had as a team, incorporating working alongside designers, copywriters, and our friends and colleagues at Umpf on a number of accounts, plus a whole host of other experts, to provide great work for our clients.


One of the potential criticisms for print is that it can be quite difficult to measure results. This is where you need to go back to your objectives and audience. The objective for our print ads was mainly to communicate our difference and competence to a warm audience, who had perhaps come across us via other channels. It offered reassurance and a clear message about our direction, growth and USP.


We saw spikes in web traffic delivered through the ads, but this was secondary to the main purpose of awareness building. For anyone who hasn’t seen their brand in print, we’d encourage trying it. It’s a buzz that never gets old.

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