Print advertising 101

Print advertising 101

With so much marketing being focused online through social media these days, younger businesses are often unfamiliar with print advertising, resulting in a blurred understanding of the line between collateral and advert.


If you are considering running an advertising campaign in print, you should be clear about where the adverts are to be placed and what you want to achieve. Before you book an advert in the press, the publication should be able to provide you with relevant media stats such as demographics of the target audience, print run and readership (usually several times as many readers as copies printed).

For a magazine, you’ll probably be offered either a full-page ad, or maybe a half or quarter page, and you may be able to choose whether the ad will appear on an odd-numbered page (right-hand-side) or even. The position of the advert influences visibility and therefore cost, odd-numbered pages usually being more expensive, and the outside back cover being prime real estate.

Despite superficial similarities, the design and copy used for a flyer may not work at all well if reproduced for an advert in the print media. Although advertising should follow general brand guidelines, adverts tend to be more conceptual and more creative freedom may be expected.

While print collateral often focuses on a specific service, product or range of products, and can be used to inform, advertising – unless in the form of advertorial – usually aims to evoke an emotional response. In advertising, text is often kept to a minimum and, rather than offering a host of concrete facts and figures, images are used to create a mood or suggest an atmosphere.

The design and copy used for a flyer may not work at all well if reproduced for an advert in the print media.

Advertorials – a combination of advert and editorial– where a business pays to place an article in a publication alongside the actual journalistic content, may be seen as a form of content marketing. Here, it is the text that has priority, as information about the business or its products and services is written in the style of the publication.

Whatever form it takes, print advertising is a powerful tool for raising an organisation’s profile and increasing general brand awareness, but it should not be confused with marketing collateral.

Whether you need marketing collateral or advertising, we provide concept, design and copywriting services. Why not drop us an email or give us a call to talk over the possibilities?