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ABX measures ads across all media types in the U.S. and internationally reaching geographical areas representing 90% of global media spend. This post is a part of our systematic review of good and bad ads for 2022 by Media Type. Today’s post focuses specifically on Print Ads selected from 13 countries that were among 10,000 evaluated by ABX. If you are interested in testing or learning more about Print creative testing, contact us here.

Is Print Advertising Worth Including in your Marketing Mix?

Yes, we all know print advertising is on the decline, and is projected for negative growth of almost 11% from 2023-2027 (Statista 2022). But a bright spot is the Magazine category with the largest market volume. Special interest publications are the sweet spot and are growing quickly.

Print is best known for its impact on brand recall and purchase decisions, and is a key part of integrated, multi-channel approaches to marketing campaigns. Before you move all your money out of print to digital, have a look at some highlights from Gardner Business Media’s, “26 Relevant Print Marketing Statistics: 2022 Ad Spending & Impact” below.

  • Combining print (especially magazine) and digital ads will make online campaigns 400% more effective (Top Media Advertising, n.d.).
  • 82% of consumers trust print ads the most when making a purchase decision (Burstein, 2017).
  • 70% of households with an income above $100,000 are newspaper readers (Mansi Media, n.d.).
  • 95% of people under 25 years old read magazines (Top Media Advertising, n.d.).
  • Print readers usually spend 20 minutes or more with their publication in hand, while a typical visitor to a digital news site sticks around for less than five minutes (Heitman, n.d.).
  • Print ads require 21% less cognitive effort to process (R.C. Brayshaw, 2020).

With Good Creative, Print Advertising is Just as Effective as Other Media Types

ABX has tested more than 365,000 ads since its inception, with 15% being in print.  The results illustrate how ad effectiveness average norms for various media types differ, with Print, Online Display, Out of Home, and Radio norms scoring about the same. TV and Video, of course, have the highest norms due to the bigger budgets devoted to creative for those mediums. Note how widely ABX Index scores range from good to bad in the gray bars below. Print scores range from 18 to 175.

However, average norms of all ads only tell part of the story. When ABX compared only “good” ads (ABX Index 106+) for all media types, the average norms were very close. The chart below illustrates that GREAT CREATIVE can be equally effective across media types, and less expensive mediums provide better budget returns.

Top Scoring Global Print Ads for 2022

The ads featured below are among the top 15% of almost 10,000 ads measured by ABX from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. They were chosen mainly by scores, but also by educational value.

  • Mercedes EQ – ABX Index of 150 – Vogue – Australia

The exquisitely designed ad below from Mercedes EQ appealed to every demographic, with an ABX index of 150 for GenPop, 171 from Millennials 171; 142 from Gen X; and 150 from Boomers. So, if the target was Millennials, the headline, “For a New Generation,” was perfect. The Brand Awareness score (102 overall) was barely above average, though, likely due to the ads reliance on “EQA” and the Mercedes symbol rather than including the Mercedes name in more than small text. It is a little surprising that Message was scored at 139 given the size of the text beneath the headline, but who can argue with such high Reputation and intended Action results? Also, note the high score for the male model in the Gender Equality Index™ (GEI), which contributed to those results.

Below we show both the GenPop scores first, and then take a closer look at the spectacular Millennial scores. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Here are the Millennial scores:

  • Coca-Cola – ABX Index of 136 – The Grocer – United Kingdom

The Image ad/advertorial below was featured in The Grocer, a British digital and print magazine devoted to grocery sales since 1862. The headline, “We’re new bottles made from 100% recycled plastic,” is a highly credible claim for the environment. Branding is excellent with four prominent logos, and the “Action” score includes Purchase Intent, which was maxed out at 236, Relevance at 146 and Recommend at 153. The huge environmental link in the headline with four prominent logos are great examples of branding with a highly credible claim of environmental friendliness. This is far from the typical ‘green-washing’ often used by other brands with questionable links to real ESG benefits.

brands with questionable links to ESG benefits. Also note that the Message (147) repeats the benefit twice (100% recycled plastic/100% recyclable).

  • Nivea Men – ABX Index of 135 – Lebensmittel Zeitung (LZ) Newspaper – Germany

LZ is a German weekly newspaper for executives in the food industry and retail. The headline in the ad below says it all: “Our Nivea Men bestseller deodorant sprays now in cans made of – 100% Recycled Aluminum.” Once again, we see an environmental friendliness claim with verifiable benefits. Brand Awareness is unusually high at 113 due to three clear logos, and the strong Message at 157 drove very high Purchase intent (183) and Recommend (183), which are parts of the Action score.

  • La Gaufre Biscuits – ABX Index of 131 – 20 Minutes Daily Newspaper – France

20 Minutes is a free daily newspaper aimed at commuters, which are likely very hungry! The headline, “Sorry, Belgians, we were inspired by your recipe!” is complemented with mouth-watering details like how the biscuits have “sugar pearls that make them even better warmed up,” and health benefits like “they contain 5 fruits and vegetables.” Again, big scores in Look For (171), Purchase intent (254) and Recommend (155), all of which are part of the Action score.

  • Pure Leaf – ABX Index of 131 – HGTV print publication – United States

HGTV print provides DIY ideas, budget buys, homes, and best tips from HGTV stars, experts, and editors. What a perfect publication for this ad, “They Say Less is More” and prove it with “20 calories” and “5 grams of sugar). Clean, clear, uncluttered, and a big logo. The scores speak for themselves with Relevance (141) and Purchase (254).

Be watching for the second half of this story, “The Bottom Five Global Print Ads of 2022” coming up next!

For more information, contact Diane Light Waight, VP Business Development HERE.

Written by: Angela Jeffrey, VP Brand Management, ABX