The Power of Print


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Welcome to “The Power of Print”. This is an attempt to analyse how ideas for great ads in Press and Outdoor appear to be found. It is based on classifying the 1028* ads and campaigns in The Gunn Report Print Library – the most awarded and admired Print Ads and Campaigns in the world in the 15 years from 1999 to 2013.

This has enabled us to identify the 13 (thirteen) basic Dramatic Formats that are used in Print – the 13 best opportunities for finding an engaging and effective creative solution. These 13 Dramatic Formats are listed below.

For each of these, we describe the specific creative thought process involved and offer 10 examples (some single ads, some campaigns) of each Dramatic Format in use. (In fact it is 10 examples each time, but 20 for solution #8 – Exaggerated Graphic For The Benefit – which accounts for the most ads/campaigns in The Library versus any of the other solutions. So 140 examples are provided in total). Of course, lots more examples for every one of the 13 Formats are to be found in TGR Print Library in our subscription site.

Our first thought – having plenty of excellent examples for each category – was not to overlap with any of the 200 ads/campaigns appearing in “Bent/Straight. A Recipe for Print”. But we decided it would be a shame to short change someone using The Power of Print of some of the most inspiring examples of all. So we have permitted some overlap with “Bent/Straight” – in fact 40 of our 140 examples (28.6%).

For those who enjoy a number here and there (like we do at TGR) – the most represented Countries across the 140 ads and campaigns are the UK (24 ads/campaigns), USA (21), France (15), Brazil (12) and Germany and South Africa (9 each). The 5 most represented Agencies (5 ads/campaigns each) are AlmapBBDO (Sao Paulo), Saatchi & Saatchi (London), Saatchi & Saatchi (New York), Scholz & Friends (Berlin) and TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris (Johannesburg).

A primary function of “The Power of Print” – may well turn out to be training. In bygone days, good Agencies invested considerable time and money in the training and education of their young people. Nowadays, alas, this has largely gone by the board – thanks to lower margins, fewer people and, as Jean-Marie Dru expresses it about delivering work “the move from a quarterly to a daily cadence”.

We also suspect that seasoned pros will occasionally find some succour from “The Power of Print” too. And discover that it can sometimes come to the rescue, as an idea-sparker, when you (or you and your creative partner) are sitting there staring at a blank sheet of paper and the only word you can think of is “help!”

These are the 13 Dramatic Formats: Click on any of these to study the Format in question: or, for familiarisation and an overview of the full repertoire of creative opportunities on offer, play from the beginning.

  • Information/Facts
  • Fresh Thought/Insight
  • Demo In Print
  • Dramatise The Need/Problem
  • Exaggerated Graphic for The Need/Problem
  • Comparison
  • Tell a Story
  • Exaggerated Graphic for The Benefit
  • Associated or Used Imagery Lifestyle/Attitude Reflect The Benefit
  • Media-Driven Idea
  • Product Provides The Graphic
  • Borrowed Format or Parody
  • Participation

(NB: These 1028 ads and campaigns are made up of the 50 most awarded Print ads and campaigns in the world each year from 1999-2013 as presented in Table Two of The Gunn Report; plus about 20 more “Other Favourites” per year, chosen more subjectively. These 1028 ads and campaigns have generated 1500 classifications (round number purely fortuitous) across the 13 Dramatic Formats. Certain ads are excellent examples of more than one Format – the average classification per ad across the Library has been 1.46)