Media experts at e4m Conclave believe print innovation has to be new, engaging and sustainable

Media experts from the industry discussed challenges in the print medium in terms of innovation and how it’s important to move the audience with the advertisements

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Nov 1, 2017 8:42 AM  | 4 min read

At the 17th edition of exchange4media’s flagship property, the exchange4media Conclave, media experts pointed out that innovation on print has to be new, engaging and objective with an attached ROI. There was a general consensus that innovation happens only once and the second time is a repeat.

The discussion was moderated by Anita Nayyar, CEO India & South Asia, Havas Media with Bobby Pawar, Managing Director, Chief Creative Officer, Publicis Worldwide, Anand Chakravarthy, Managing Partner, WAVEMAKER, Mohit Joshi, Managing Director, Havas Media Group India and Sandeep Khosla, CEO, Mid-Day as panellists.

Nayyar started the discussion expressing how digital is basking in all the limelight with its impact but print, being a mainstream media, is not even at the fore. “I understand that spends on print are going down. But that doesn’t mean that the medium is dead,” she said.
On creative aspect, Nayyar asked Pawar how much of his mind space is attuned towards print while conceptualizing and creating a campaign. He answered, “It starts with not what you want to do with it but your objective. If you set a higher goal for any medium it will do much better.” With that he cited Volkswagen's talking newspaper ads in 2010 as examples. Pawar pointed out that great ads do make people read.

Nayyar raised another issue of formats (jackets) being passed off as innovation in this medium. She asked Chakravarthy if innovations are occasion-led and restricted to formats. Chakravarthy responded saying that jackets do have become a norm. But the challenge is that when a marketer is briefing creative agency they don’t consider media mix at that point in time. He said, “Media agencies build the plan much after the creative has started. If print is so important for the category then shouldn’t the brief start off with marketer asking for a print effective campaign? Print ads do drive enquiries.”

He suggested, “If we approach innovation as a need to engage consumer and maintain a quote pie of the brief right from the start of any marketing program then it becomes more powerful and meaningful.”

Khosla agreed, showing an example of their innovation with a 200-issue of Midday aimed at office goers and recalled fragrance being added on a Jagran newspaper. He said that as far as sampling is concerned, one can only do with print. “You need to keep on innovating every now and then,” he asserted.

Innovation is also regarded as premium in terms of cost as shared by Nayyar. Joshi added that it’s also equal to one-day impact, a reason why print gets sidelined in a media plan. “That’s something we should change. They need not be costly. It should be something that’s more sustainable and engaging,” he said.

He cited an example of Times of India changing its logo for MTS, one of Havas’ brands, when it launched in India, which wasn’t a ‘one-day affair else it wouldn’t have been sustainable.’ He said, “Whenever MTS launched in any market in 2009 we did the same thing to TOI in those specific market. That’s impactful and sustainable.”

Pawar warned that if it (innovation) doesn’t move the reader emotionally, it’s pointless. He recalled examples of Volkswagen's talking newspaper ads and Apple’s iPad advertisement on Time magazine where it put the front page on its back. Pawar said, “They should put people first and not innovation.”

Nayyar asked the panelists how print is gearing up to connect with the audiences. She asked, “How is digital complementing print and vice-versa in this changing ecosystem?”

Khosla stayed put saying that print is here to stay. “It’s the most authentic media. The reading time 15-20 years back was 29 minutes which has dropped to 27 minutes now. 10 years down the line it will drop down to 25 which is more than enough. In India, I believe content is still most important,” he said.

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