Learning point: to develop students’ understanding of the world of marketing and print advertising’s role in the promotion and selling of products.

Introduction – Print Advertising

Print advertising is a way of advertising that uses a physical form, such as newspapers, magazines and billboards, to reach consumers.

Print adverts still play an important role in a world where advertisers increasingly use digital media to reach target audiences.

Social media is an effective avenue for banner adverts, pop up adverts and sponsored advertising.

Mobile advertising is becoming the preferred means of advertising today with its ever- extending reach.

However, advertisers use these new mediums alongside more traditional methods. Print adverts can raise awareness of a product, contribute to raising a brand’s profile and ultimately increase sales.

Ask students to think of the differences between print advertising and other forms of advertising. The printable grid can help students to focus their points. Discussions can also be related to their own exposure to adverts and the means students find the most effective. Do some forms of advertising suit different types of audiences? Consider Facebook, YouTube, apps, Instagram, Twitter and sponsored ads, the rise of vloggers and their own YouTube channels, etc.

What are the differences between these forms of advertising?

Print PDF
Print advertising can target specific audiences with specific interests. The audience will spend time reading ads, meaning it is more likely that they will connect with the brand. The message is more likely to be communicated and accepted as audience research will have ensured that the print advert has been placed in the right sort of publication.
TV advertising can reach a mass / mainstream audience. It is far more expensive but the ads have a potential of reaching millions. They can also reach specific audiences due to placement in between specific programmes. There are hundreds of commercial channels. Adverts are repeated and therefore encourage familiarity. There is an advantage to moving image and audio, e.g. jingles are memorable.
Internet advertising makes use of new technologies and allows for tracking of users' online activity – also know as 'cookies' – which means that the pop ups and banner adverts they will see are tailored to their specific interests. Having made a purchase online or even just after browsing, a pop up for a similar or related product might appear soon after making their purchase or search.
The rise of smart phones has conflated/concentrated activity in the palm of a hand. Users can watch TV, play games, browse the internet, use social media, all with carefully placed adverts. Mobile advertising is very direct and tailored to the user.
Ask students to list all of the advantages of print advertising. While students might argue that social media is more direct, tailored specifically to the user and has a greater reach, print adverts are still considered an important part of a 360 degree advertising campaign where advertisers aim to create a common brand experience online and offline.

So what are the advantages of print adverts?

  • Tangible – magazines are around for a long time, whereas internet ads can disappear at a click.
  • Print adverts help to consolidate the brand and are linked by colour, fonts, style and image.
  • Print adverts are read more slowly than ads online – so it is more likely that a connection is made
  • Ads placed in magazines covering a wide range of interests can effectively reach specific, niche audiences.
  • Billboard adverts and posters can capture consumers on the move, close to the point of purchase
  • Trust factor – pop ups and banner ads can make people wary and even annoyed by the interference.
  • There is less competition in the print world. The online world is oversaturated with only 1 out of 10 adverts actually getting a response.
Ask students to write down 5 brands that they are familiar with. Ask them what they know about the brand, which brands they are likely to be drawn to and why. This might lead towards a discussion of a brand’s values or personality. Students could write their understanding of the term ‘brand’ on whiteboards. (A brand is…) A shared definition could be drawn up.

What is a brand?

A brand is:
  • A trade name given to a product like Coca-Cola.
  • A design that distinguishes one line of goods from another
  • The identity of an organisation, linking together all its products.
  • A product or series of products with a personality. This comes from its logo, accompanying slogan, images and most importantly its associations (the ideas that are linked to the product).
Introductory activities are designed to draw on students’ existing knowledge of logos and brands. Students study the range of cropped logos and try to identify the brand. Most logos are easily identifiable which leads to the learning point. Brands are revealed – brands use colour, distinctive fonts, shape and striking symbols in their logos to stand out in a competitive market.

Can you identify the brands from parts of their logos?

Logo: a visual symbol that represents a brand or company.

section of logo 1 section of logo 2 section of logo 3 section of logo 4 section of logo 5 section of logo 6 section of logo 7 section of logo 8 section of logo 9

Did you get them all?

coca cola logo monster logo apple logo starbucks logo krispykreme logo loreal logo nike logo pepsi logo red bull logo

What helped you?

Ask students what they think are the biggest global brands. Link to learning – they have distinctive iconic logos. Ask students to pick one they think they can draw to practise creative skills.

Top ten global brands:

Can you draw any of the logos? Were you right?

  1. Apple
  2. Microsoft
  3. Coca cola
  4. IBM
  5. Google
  6. Intel
  7. McDonald’s
  8. General Electric
  9. BMW
  10. Cisco [tech company]
In preparation cut up the brands (sheet of 10 brands). In pairs – one student is given the logo and then has to describe it to their partner who has to guess which brand it is. They could also try to draw it from the description. At this point students need to reflect on their engagement with logos and draw up a list of criteria for an effective logo: distinctive and easily replicated across different forms. Colour is important, but the best logos should also be distinctive in black and white too. The logo needs to be easily understood and mean something – does it answer questions such as ‘who?’ and ‘what?’. Common trends include waves (a big trend amongst technology companies), mountains (seems to suggest striving for success), acorns (suggests going back to roots as well as the potential for growth) and bees.

Logo Activities:

  • Choose a logo that you are familiar with, then try to describe it to a partner in three sentences and ask them to draw it. You cannot name the brand!
  • Write down 5 top tips for creating an effective logo. (Think / pair / share).
  • Draw a logo to represent you. Try to capture your personality (brand identity) and remember the top tips.
Focus on language and techniques used to create slogans. Effective slogans help make a brand memorable. ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ has been used for over 40 years, is still relevant and has been named the best slogan of all time by Creative Review magazine. Slogans often anchor the meaning of a particular campaign; they can be set to music becoming a memorable jingle when translated into a TV advert and use rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, repetition and wordplay to stick in the mind. The resource sheet can be used with the slide.

Slogan – a short , snappy phrase that reminds an audience about a product or brand

Slogans often capture the essence of a campaign. Most adverts are not seen at the point of purchase and so memory becomes very important.

Try to identify the brand from the slogans

  • Every little helps
  • Think different
  • Beanz Meanz Heinz
  • Because you're worth it
  • Taste the rainbow
  • Live in your world. Play in ours.
  • eat fresh
  • Melt in your mouth, not in your hand.
  • I’m lovin’ it
  • so good
A wide range of techniques are used to help make slogans memorable. There are more than the ones listed, but students can be asked to find slogans and then create a visual montage of slogans and techniques for classroom display – literacy in practice. There is also a printable resource that can be cut up and used in class.

A range of linguistic techniques are used in slogans to help them remain memorable. Match up the terms below to their definition:

  • repetition
  • alliteration
  • adjective
  • onomatopoeia
  • neologism
  • imperative
  • personification
  • connotation
  • rhetorical question
  • personal pronouns
  • simile
  • lexical set
  • when a word or phrase occurs several times in a text
  • use of repeated consonant sounds at the beginning of consecutive words
  • a word used to describe a noun
  • when the sound of a word reflects its meaning
  • a word that is made up by advertisers, often by putting two words together
  • an order
  • describing an object as having human characteristics
  • what a word or image suggests
  • a question that does not require a direct answer
  • use of you or your, etc.
  • a comparison using like or as
  • words that belong to a particular field of language
Download Literary Techniques

You have correct matches.

Find examples of these in your own examples. What other techniques are used? Add them to your list.

The adverts used here are to promote understanding of the visual impact that can be generated by the very best print adverts. They are not meant for detailed analysis as this can be developed later, but are to provoke discussion and exploration. A resource sheet is available for students or they can just be projected. Groups could be given different print adverts and then as a group feedback to the class. More inspiring adverts can be found via the web link.

How do print adverts work?

Print adverts need to gain attention and make readers understand what the advert is for, even before the brand name is seen.

The following adverts have all gained awards for creativity and their ability to capture the audience’s attention.

In pairs or groups consider:

  • How do these adverts work?
  • What is the underlying idea (concept)?
  • What messages are being communicated?
  • How is audience appeal created?
  • Who might be the target audience?

Advert 1

This advert ties into the recent release of Avengers Assemble. This print advertising campaign from Band Aid showcases the ability of using a well-known character to the maximum effect. There's no text or slogan in this example; just the iconic image of Hulk's hand, along with the product in the bottom right-hand corner. It communicates the product's strength by applying it to the world's strongest character. No words are needed here.
When responding it is important not to generalise, – ‘aimed at everyone’. It is important to use details from the advert to specify who the target audience is likely to be and to justify suggestions.

Advert 2

This print advertising campaign from Panasonic shows off technology to its fullest potential. There is attention to detail in this ad, both in the dinosaur and in the mise-en-scène of the setting. The concept of the advert tells a ‘story’ highlighting the technological pleasures of the product.

Advert 3

Even though McDonald's is one of the top global brands it still has to come up with innovative and new ways of advertising. The fast food market is a competitive, expanding one. This design features a box of fries, simply carved from the ingredient from which they're made. The slogan and logo is unobtrusive in the right-hand corner. How does this advert challenge the typical image of the fast food brand? What does it want to communicate to audiences? Who would this advert specifically appeal to and why?

Advert 4

Last year, Penguin Books promoted its audiobooks with a print ad campaign featuring illustrations of three well-known authors – William Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde – acting as headphones and whispering in the ears of their listener. The image of Shakespeare is instantly recognisable as is the modern icon of the headphones. The juxtaposition of old and new promises to bring classic texts to new readers and listeners. Again the iconic Penguin logo serves to anchor the meanings created and would be recognised by the target audience.

Advert 5

The 'Big Cat, Small Cat' campaign shows a small furry feline as a big cat in the wild. The series of adverts in this campaign includes the domestic animal hunting down gazelles, elephants and zebras in the wild. The concept and visuals communicate the meaning before the slogan anchors the ad. The well-known recognisable brand is in the bottom right.
In simple terms a print advert can be explained in this way – image, text, organisation. This is a starting point that can be built upon.

Print Adverts

Print adverts consist of:

  • Text, image and organisation of the elements.
  • Text anchors in the image to add information.
  • An image capturing the idea and often selling more than just the product.
  • An organisation of elements to form a relationship between the two in order to communicate the message.