Anytime you can get a reader to take the time to interact with your marketing piece, it’s a big win. Everyone enjoys feeling engaged and entertained—and printed materials can elicit emotions that are hard to convey in digital formats. A smart, well-thought-out print ad can add value and credibility to your brand in ways that are nearly impossible through other mediums.
Creating a clever interactive print ad shows your company has style and substance, with the resources to back it up. This is an absolute necessity for luxury brands, but also works well for any company that needs a brand boost.
When it comes to turning your ad into an interactive experience, the sky’s the limit. If you’re ready to flex your creative muscles and assert your position as a heavy-hitter, here are a few of our favorite strategies for designing an effective interactive print ad:
Augmented Reality—One of the best new techniques in interactive print is augmented reality. While QR codes of the past were clunky and didn’t quite catch on, AR is poised to fulfill the promise of blending cutting-technology with traditional print. Encourage readers to use their smartphone or tablet to reveal graphic elements that enhance the value and effect of the printed ad. Use AR to add a dash of whimsy and humor while allowing readers to test products or engage with your brand in a meaningful and responsive way. See more information about Augmented Reality here.
Re-Purpose This Ad—Think about all the things you can do with a simple sheet of paper! Embed real seeds into an ad’s paper stock and invite the reader to plant it in their garden. Create beautiful tear-off postcards consumers will want to stick on their fridge or send to a friend. In the past, we’ve even used food-safe substrates and print techniques to create tear-out recipe sheets you can actually cook with. Glacial Beer created a print ad with salt particles embedded into the paper—instructing readers to tear out the ad, soak it in water, wrap it around their beer and put it in the freezer to chill in half the time. Brainstorm creative ways to turn your ad into a usable object that engages consumers and you’ll reap incredible results.
Wearables—There are so many ways you can turn a print ad into a wearable object. You can design tear-off bracelets that incorporate technology that links back to your brand’s app, or reveals a hidden message under certain conditions, like black lights. Temporary tattoos are another possible application of ‘wearable ads’. Create custom tattoo designs the reader can remove, apply and share. Getting your customers to wear your message on their body is an excellent way to increase brand awareness.
Functional Technology—Give your readers something of real value by gifting them with usable technology right in your ad. Imagine printing real solar power panels with charging ports, transforming your ad into a portable phone charger! Functional ads like this serve a real purpose and benefit the customer, which enhances your brand’s reputation and encourages meaningful engagement.
Test Strips—Ikea recently created an ad you can use as a pregnancy test—revealing your new Ikea Family discount right there in the ad if you get a positive result. It was a viral hit that highlights the creative possibilities of interactive print. This example may seem a little extreme—but you could consider using similar technology for medical applications, cosmetic uses and much more.
Folding Ads—Invite your reader to fold over portions of the ad to reveal a secret message or demonstrate a visual concept in a unique way. Getting the consumer to participate in manipulating the ad requires a satisfying payoff—but done right, these ‘ah-ha’ reveals can be a powerful way to creating a lasting impact.
Pop-Ups— From simple pop-up windows to elaborate center-spread designs, using 3D elements is a great way to engage your audience and bring your message to life. If you want more interactivity, you can even create a tear-out sheet that can be folded into something interesting, useful or even just adorable.
Sensory Print—Some things are simply irresistible to a reader. Designs that use stickers, scratch-offs, peel off decals and even bubble wrap just begs for interaction. If you can find a creative and relevant way to incorporate these tactile elements into your ad, you are sure to attract a consumer’s attention.
LED Printing—This technique may be more cost-prohibitive than some, but the results are out of this world. You can use LED printing techniques to create color-changing elements and graphics, and even allow the reader to control the colors they see in the ad. This works well for high-end projects where you really want to make a splash. To take it to the next level, consider using paper-thin, flexible video screens with pre-recorded video for true integration of digital and print!
Specialty Inks—There are a number of ways using specialty printing techniques can make your ads more experiential. Try color-changing thermometric inks that change hue when you apply the heat of your hand, or put them in the refrigerator. Photochromic inks will transform in the sunlight or under black light conditions. If you want to take it one step further, use custom scented inks to create a fully immersive experience.
At SunDance, we are known for our specialty printing expertise. We have spent years honing our technical skills and creating an inventory of in-house equipment and services to meet your most ambitious printing needs. If you want to test out a truly unique interactive print technique—we are up for the challenge. Partner with our team to create a print ad that won’t just look good—it will make a real impact