2022 has already graced us with some disruptive print ads that have made a serious impact in terms of creativity, messaging and delivery.  Here, print and design experts Solopress investigate the five most innovative print ad campaigns of the year, so far.

Print-based advertising can communicate a brand’s identity and ethos in uniquely creative ways and is still hugely powerful in 2022. Interestingly, 82% of customers trust print ads the most when making a purchase decision. Equally, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns jumps to 400% when digital and print mediums are combined. Younger audiences are also in favour of print-based advertising, with a staggering 92% of young adults aged between 18 and 23 saying they prefer printed content over digital content due to them finding it easier to read.

Engagement levels for traditional advertising generally are up, with over half of consumers often or always watching traditional television advertisements and reading print advertisements that they receive in the mail from companies they are satisfied with.

So there’s an opportunity for marketers to cut through the noise by including print-based advertising in their marketing mix in 2022. But what makes an impactful print ad? Here’s five to learn from.

1. Bumble: #MakeRomanceEqual

Dating app Bumble recently created a unique print ad that leveraged the dos and don’ts of dating, explained in “user DMs”. The messages in the #MakeRomanceEqual print ad tap into common dating tropes such as waiting three days to text back and arriving to dates 20 minutes late in order to not seem too  keen. Utilising the recognisable yellow and white branding, this witty print ad aimed to challenge the formalities of dating with the tagline “The rules of dating are so weird. Let’s break them”.

The copywriters expose the unfair expectations put on both parties during dating scenarios in a sharp, inventive way, while the use of faux DMs gives the print ad a level of authenticity that viewers may find relatable and humorous. It’s a good example of brands becoming part of the conversation and tackling issues relevant to their offering, thus making the audience feel seen and heard.

2. Burger King: Meat?

Burger King recently stumped meat-lovers with its Plant-Based Whopper optical illusion. Using a close-up image of what appears to be animal meat but is actually red pepper, beetroot and radicchio, the series of ads in the “Meat?” out-of-home campaign uses clever photography to showcase the visual commonalities between their vegan product and animal-based products.

Meat?” demonstrates the brand’s propensity for fun, tongue-in-cheek humour and smart advertising, which gets it noticed. When it comes to print-based advertising sometimes it’s the photography that takes centre stage, and the simplest of concepts can help to drive sales. In fact, since the release of the ad in March 2022 up until June 2022, searches for ‘Burger King Vegan Options’ are up by 70% according to Google Trends.

3. McDonald’s: Take Away Your Takeaway

McDonald’s recently took ownership of the fact that its packaging accounts for a significant amount of littering in Norwegian cities. Its “Take Away Your Takeaway” campaign sought to encourage lovers of the fast-food chain to be accountable and reduce littering. This utilised photography of discarded Mcdonald’s packaging on the streets of Oslo and simple, to-the-point copy: “Unfortunately too much of our packaging ends up on the streets. Now we’re doing our biggest effort yet and will clean even more than we already do”.

Combining print, social media, out-of-home displays and McDonald’s trays, ‘Take Away Your Takeaway’ is a prime example of a brand speaking out on issues facing the community and environment and using its influence to spark real change. The striking yet unpolished photography exposes the reality of the issue and the sincere, concise messaging speaks to the authenticity of the message.

4. Love Honey: Ogle

Sexual wellbeing brand Love Honey refused to be held back by Google SafeSearch, urging adults to turn off the Google functionality in order to find its full range of products and content. After realising that changes to SafeSearch in 2021 meant that an estimated 700,000 customers were restricted from finding the brand over a two-month period alone, Love Honey decided to take matters into its own hands: a billboard campaign, “Ogle”, uses the unmistakable colours of Google’s branding to draw its audience to the copy reading “Turn off SafeSearch to lay eyes on our full range”.

By publicly addressing the barrier to their customers and providing their audience with clear instructions through the medium of advertising, Love Honey placed themselves firmly on the map when it comes to print advertising. “Ogle” reveals how brands can use play on words and a humorous nod to other brands to get noticed whilst addressing key issues such as SEO barriers.

5. Lacoste: Ageless

With its 2022 print campaign, luxury fashion brand Lacoste demonstrates that fashion can be embraced by all generations. Agency BETC created a series of print and TV ads featuring individuals from different generations realizing they are wearing the same Lacoste clothing – an elderly lady and young male adult wearing the same pink polo shirt, for example, or a young girl and teen skater wearing the same bucket hat. The ads mostly feature people who had not modelled previously, providing an air of authenticity and relatability.

Through warm, vibrant photography, the series evokes a positive feel, making it perfectly suited to a summer campaign. What the charming ads really communicate, however, is a sense of unity and connectivity between different generations and people from all walks of life. By including everyday people of different ages through street casting, the brand doesn’t just limit itself to one target audience and instead emphasizes that all ages can feel confident in the Lacoste brand and make it their own.

One thing is clear from these campaigns: strategic creative print ads can result in commercial success and heightened brand awareness. Key principles to remember are that compelling visuals, such as thought-provoking photography, and short, snappy copy, are always best for print campaigns, helping to instantly captivate the audience and hold their attention.

By taking a bolder approach and discussing topical social and environmental issues in print-based ads in unexpected ways, brands let readers know that they have strong core values which help to keep them in the forefront of their target audience’s minds.