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The five cleverest print ads of the past 12 months

At PMG print management we pride ourselves on our ability to design, produce and distribute fantastic inside and outside print materials at great overall savings to our customers. Print adverts such as these give us our motivation to deliver high quality results to each of our clients. These are some of our absolute favourite print adverts from the past 12 months, but do you agree with our choices?


#1: Stihl

Stihl, the bestselling German chainsaw brand, released a highly simple but powerful print advert series earlier this year. Entirely in black and white, each advert features a photo of a stereotypical bearded lumberjack with one crucial difference: he boasts comically underdeveloped arms. The look of grim determination on each lumberjack’s face is in direct contrast to how muscularly bereft they appear. However, with each lumberjack proudly brandishing his Stihl chainsaw, the strapline, ‘all the muscle you need’ makes the advert’s message immediately apparent. Given the product the print advert is a very simple idea, yet paired with some clever computer-based photo manipulation and a fun concept Stihl is able to boast one of the most effective print ads of the year so far.


#2: Whiskas

Whiskas is a UK-based cat food manufacturer that commissioned a very talented photo editor to complete a series of adverts entitled ‘Big Cat Little Cat.’ Similarly to the successful Stihl print ads, each Whiskas advert is markedly simple. Our favourite features a full colour photo depicting a domestic moggy in full pursuit of an antelope, just as a big cat such as a lion or leopard might in the wild. In the bottom right corner of the advert reads the copy: ‘feeding your cat’s instincts.’


#3: 1st For Women

Not a brand known in the UK, 1st For Women is a female-only car insurance company based in South Africa. By putting humour to good use, the advert manages to justify its use of sexism. It shows three men in a line nervously holding hands as one tentatively reaches out to touch an ominous electrified fence because, apparently, ‘guy + more guys + “Ja, but how do you know it hurts?”’ = such foolish curiosity. That, says the advert, is ‘why we insure women.’ The combination of humour, bold simplicity and a bit of everyday sexism makes this advert particularly effective at gaining the attention of 1st For Women’s target audience.


#4: IKEA

In this advert, IKEA makes use of optical illusion to promote their furniture assembly service. As easy as their furniture is meant to be to assemble, sometimes parts don’t quite fit together as they should. Just like in this print advert. Upon first glance, the coffee table looks to be fully assembled as the manufacturer intended, but on closer inspection it appears rather higgledy-piggledy. This is because the table is actually an optical illusion after the fashion of an ‘impossible object’ illusion. The illusion makes for a wonderfully apt promotion of the company’s furniture assembly service.


#5: Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America

On a more serious note, Moms Demand Action is an American pressure group for better gun control in the US. The advert shows two young children – one holds a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg, the other an automatic machinegun. The advert very successfully draws attention to the fact that Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs have been banned in the US on account of the possibility of children choking on the small toys contained within, yet weaponry remains easy to buy. The advert reads: ‘One child is holding something that’s been banned in America to protect them. Guess which one.’ Shock advertising at its most effective.


In each of these print adverts, simple yet bold messages are clearly what has made them so successful. Could PMG help your business to create simple yet bold print marketing materials of your own? Visit our website to find out.

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