• Publishing & printing

Ed #15 Interactive Print

Ed™ knows interactivity. Paper is the original interactive communication medium. And it keeps getting better, finding new ways to connect, not just to your audience, but also to other media.

Printed communication is more vital than ever. It’s vibrant, highly effective, reaching millions and selling billions.

With immediate accessibility, three dimensionality, touch and texture, print is a perfect outlet for creativity. It’s a communication medium used extensively (and successfully) by today’s leading marketers to create real stopping power—upping both attention and retention, two keys to driving results. Ed has real numbers to support it.

Just as important, print is always coming up with new ways—including QR codes, short-message service (SMS) technology, video-in-print and browser apps like Layar—to team up with digital media to convert readers into active shoppers and buyers. In Ed #15, you’ll learn about the ever-expanding ways paper is interacting with readers and other media to get the word out.

These are times of rapid change. Exciting times. Much has changed, but one thing hasn’t: Nothing succeeds like a great idea. As always, Ed’s here to present a few.


Scan the cover. See what Ed has to say

Get more out of your experience. Layar, a leading augmented reality (AR) platform, enhances Ed #15 by displaying videos on your smartphone without ever leaving the printed piece. Look for the smartphone icon in the printed piece to identify the Layar-enabled pages.

True interactivity. You touch it, it touches you. Print, the medium that invented interactivity, is vibrant and evolving—continuously developing new and creative ways to connect the message to the market.

True interactivity.

Inviting your audience to create something with their hands is true interaction. Manipulate the die cuts, create a three-dimensional “Ed”—and participate in creating a unique and memorable detail.


Direct mail hits a home run with Brewers season ticketholders.

A few years ago, the Milwaukee Brewers used Variable Data Printing and direct mail to address lower-than-expected response to season ticket renewal packages.

The two-phase campaign, called “Missing You,” first mailed a card with a photo showing an empty locker, with the recipient’s name above it, between those belonging to the Brewers’ two star players. The message, “We noticed you’re not here yet,” appeared over the players’ signatures, each with a phone number, and invited the yet-to-renew ticketholder to call. Mailed around Valentine’s Day, the cards arrived in red, hand-addressed envelopes to maximize the number opened.

The second wave was a 35-piece puzzle that, once assembled, was missing a piece. That piece? The season ticketholder, who was encouraged to call for the missing piece of the puzzle and to talk about renewal options.

The campaign was a success. Curious recipients who called a player’s number heard a voicemail message from that player encouraging them to renew. Many called for the missing puzzle piece. Over all, 12 percent responded, and renewals from the campaign represented $1,049,000 in revenue, helping to create the fourth-highest season ticket base in franchise history.


We’re all communicators. When it comes to communication to advance business interests, most would agree that success boils down to five elements: attention, clarity, emotion, differentiation and memory. You want your messages to be noticed, then clearly and easily understood. You want to create a personal, emotional connection. You want to be perceived as different and better than your competition. And you want to be remembered when the time comes to buy.

Ed knows that it takes a mix of media to get the job done. The best communication strategies combine multiple communication channels to get the message out. And print still has advantages over electronic media. It’s tactile and accessible, and it’s always “on”—electronic communication requires electric power, while print communication requires only that someone pick it up.

It’s pretty obvious that your message can’t succeed if it isn’t read, and this is a critical consideration in direct mail and its digital counterpart, email marketing. There’s little doubt that email is less expensive. But in a world where recipients are bombarded by spam and other unsolicited email—which has to get through various filters to even have a shot at being opened—a subject line has a tough time competing with a well-designed envelope.

Research continues to show that printed communication is a highly effective means to reach buyers. One interesting study provides an insight into the role of design in getting someone to open an envelope. Pitney Bowes commissioned research to identify the factors that could influence a person’s decision to open a piece of mail.1 The findings: Participants were 69 percent more likely to open a piece of mail with color text and graphics printed on the front of the envelope.

1 Pitney Bowes, Color Makes a Noticeable Difference, July 27, 2010

Electronic communications continue to grow in popularity and use, but the wonderful advance of high-technology devices and Web-based media has done nothing to diminish what has always worked so well for paper and printed communications.

Print is simple. Nothing is more accessible and immediate. You don’t need a device. There’s nothing to power on. All your readers need are the things they carry with them everywhere they go: their hands and their eyes.

Here’s the other great thing about print: It interacts well with other media. Print can leverage its advantages—its accessibility, simplicity, its emotional connection—to steer readers to a website, a video, an e-catalog or other location. It’s more than interactivity with the reader. It’s a highly effective means to get your target to a place where digital media can provide more information, deepen the experience with sound and motion, or make the sale online.

Clever ideas tied to the subject matter have always been effective. They’re no less effective now. In fact, with so much clutter, so many communication channels vying for your audience’s attention, a fresh, creative idea is noticed and appreciated now more than ever.

And paper presents a very broad canvas to paint upon. Whether it’s a traditional die cut applied in a fresh way, or more elaborate pop-up or pull-tab concepts, there are many tried-and-true techniques that create opportunities for real, literal interactivity—the reader moves the paper, the message moves the reader.

Pull on a spiral die cut score over the image of an orange to reveal an image of the peeled orange underneath. Bring a product to life for a consumer interacting with a window-shade pull-tab assembly and animate an image or message or both by pulling it back and forth.

It’s called stopping power, and it buys you all kinds of time with your audience to communicate and create a relationship that can translate into a purchase or other desired action. Unique production techniques in printed collateral also tend to be saved or passed on rather than thrown away, or can be recycled.

Sometimes adding a non-paper material to the piece creates the desired result. A great example is a magazine advertising insert produced by Americhip, a specialist in “multisensory advertising and marketing technologies,” for a major beverage company—the concept used bubble wrap to capture the carbonation feature in the promotion of a new sparkling water product.

The advertisement scored very high in recall metrics—in a survey conducted by Gfk NOP World, it received a 96 percent “noted” score (the percentage of readers who remember seeing the ad) and a 95 percent “associated” score (the percentage of readers who associated the product with the advertiser). Of the respondents, 78 percent were more interested in trying the product after seeing the ad; half said they physically interacted with the advertisement, popping some of the bubbles.

In recent years, ink technology has advanced to break new ground in communicating messages and product attributes. Inks that are heat reactive, chill reactive, touch reactive, ultraviolet-light reactive, even water reactive are available to bring a whole new level of interactivity and differentiation to the communication.

Imagine a sun-oriented product or message promotion printed in UV-sensitive ink that is visible only in natural sunlight. Or an image that changes colors with the heat of a hand touching it. Or a water-based product or message with a seemingly blank area that reveals a message or image visible only when dipped in water or wiped with a moist cloth or paper towel. These techniques can be fun and effective, they bring new meaning to the word “interactive”—and they’re only possible through the print medium.

Some of the inks are even available in reversible or permanent-change formulations—some where the color changes or transforms from invisible to visible, then changes back to its original state when the temperature or moisture level returns to normal; others that change permanently when activated.

Ideas matter. Tools like specialized reactive inks are just one more way to get the wheels turning to develop new ways to be heard, understood and remembered above the noise.

For more than a decade, companies like Americhip have pioneered multi-sensory marketing techniques and technologies for highly unique, impactful and effective ways to connect advertisers with potential customers.

Rare 10 years ago, sound chips are now relatively common. A walk down a supermarket greeting-card aisle is enough to convince you—there are now whole sections dedicated to cards that play songs and other sound effects when opened.

This technology has proven highly effective in advertising. One national shampoo brand created a magazine advertising insert that sang the name of a new active ingredient to the tune of the well-known Hallelujah Chorus.

Recall numbers were unprecedented. Market researchers RoperASW measured 100 percent “noted,” “associated” and “read some” (read some of the copy) scores, the first time anyone at that firm had seen 100 percent levels in any of these measures of stopping power and branding success, let alone all three. In addition, 88 percent of those surveyed reopened the singing insert and 90 percent rated it as something they would pass along to others. Powerful.

Light-emitting diode (LED) technology has reached a level of miniaturization that it can also add to the impact, interactivity and effectiveness of print. Australia’s Yellow Tail wines created a magazine advertising insert that incorporated four LED lights that blinked in a random sequence to illuminate firefly images in the ad. LED’s low cost (ranging from 10¢–15¢ per unit), low power requirement and versatility—the ability to fade in and out, change colors and other effects—make this technology an exciting, surprisingly viable option.

“Video in Print” is another advance. An ultrathin screen, available in multiple sizes, can be programmed with up to 45 minutes of video or audio content and placed in a printed brochure or advertising insert. It runs on batteries that can be recharged through a USB port, which also allows it to be reused—readers can remove the unit and load their own content. Americhip, the first to offer this technology, does not publish client results, but the firm does say that in the first year alone, nearly 20 percent of the global brands that invested in video-in-print programs reordered within three months.

With the continued growth in the number of smartphone users, augmented reality (AR) technology is expanding and evolving how print engages readers. Printed pages with AR connectivity can take the reader to websites, videos, related images and additional information through smartphone cameras. Product information from a package in a grocery store aisle, three-dimensional imagery from a magazine ad, a video with sound from a brochure or catalog page—all are examples of augmented reality making print more interactive and fun.

In one interesting application of the technology, automaker Ford’s Lincoln division recently integrated its brand heritage into a product brochure. Point a smartphone or tablet camera at each new product image and see a vintage Lincoln car photo, shot in a similar setting.

Many are predicting augmented reality to continue to grow. Research published by Jupiter Research predicts that installation of mobile AR apps will reach 2.5 billion per year by 20172.

2 http://www.juniperresearch.com/viewpressrelease.php?pr=334

Whether it’s traditional techniques like die cuts for pop-ups or pull tabs, or new technologies such as video-in-print or augmented reality (AR), print is truly interactive, with the ability to connect both with the reader and other media. And it’s constantly evolving, leveraging the medium’s immediacy and visual impact to create emotion, memory and results in new and exciting ways.

More than ever, the ability of printed communication to reach and influence a targeted audience is limited only by the human imagination.

Which means, of course, that it’s unlimited.

Feel it. Paper has a unique ability to get the reader to participate. Actively. Physically. You open it, touch it, fold it pull it, even smell it—and it creates something real, something dimensional and, even more important, something memorable.

Peel it away.

Clever use of printing and finishing techniques create a memorable connection that changes reader into participant. Peel the orange. See what’s behind.


The sun joins the conversation.

Sunlight-sensitive inks create a whole new experience for your reader—view the brochure under direct sunlight and watch seemingly blank pages transform. It’s interactivity between your message, the audience…and the sun.


Amuse yourself.

Sometimes a seemingly silly element adds to clarity and retention of your message. The longer you keep a reader’s attention, the greater your opportunity to connect.


An unusual die cut and fold mimics the product.

Imagine a system of lounge seating that is highly configurable for a variety of uses and functions, like building blocks for common areas. That’s the Villa line from Kimball Office. Now, imagine a printed marketing brochure that unfolds in a highly unusual way, snaking as you open it, mimicking the movement of the product itself.

The brochure, created by marketing firm Miller Brooks, is design at its best. Simple and direct. Integrally, intuitively connected to the message and brand character. No expensive techniques, no new technologies. Just a great idea.

Has the print piece contributed to strong sales? The product is selling well. Kimball points out that the sales team reordered brochures just months after the initial printing, much sooner than usual. When you’re as proud of the promotion as you are of the product, the word gets out that much faster. And that’s a good thing.


Nice cut.

Clever integration of illustration and bindery can change your perception, both of the image and the brand. It’s all about the idea.


Create a buzz.

When readers turn the page to create an unexpected three-dimensional image, they help you make a lasting impression for your brand and create an image in the marketplace that’s as sweet as honey.


Lincoln: Print drives technology for a new brand experience.

Traditional luxury meets the latest in advanced technology. It’s a notion that captures both the new Lincoln MKZ and the literature Latcha + Associates, Lincoln’s agency, created to promote it.

There’s a beautifully designed and produced brochure projecting top-tier quality, as there should be. With new product photography framed to recreate vintage Lincoln advertising imagery, the approach was intended to “breathe new life into the 90-year-old brand by re-imagining what made it great in the first place.”

But the Latcha team took it a step further, creating a new app that let users scan the brochure images with a smartphone and travel from the future to the past—and back—by moving between new and vintage product shots with a sweep of a fingertip.

This award-winning approach takes a critical part of the luxury vehicle sales process, the high-end product brochure designed to give buyers a tangible object when they leave the showroom, and creates an entirely new, interactive experience so successful that Lincoln is expanding it to include other vehicle models.


LED fireflies help Yellow Tail make a lasting impression.

Tails, you win. That’s the tagline for a 100-percent-stopping-power interactive print ad for Australian wine maker Yellow Tail.

Have you seen the ad? If you don’t remember seeing it, chances are you haven’t—it’s that memorable. Press a button and four light-emitting diode (LED) lights placed behind firefly images blink in a random order for a few seconds.

Appearing initially in nearly 600,000 copies of Real Simple magazine, the advertisement leverages LED technology that is versatile (the light elements can fade in and out, change color and more) and relatively inexpensive (10¢–15¢ per unit) to make a lasting impression for the Yellow Tail brand.


Whetting—actually, wetting—appetites to try a new product.

This printed insert used water reveal technology—ink that’s invisible until dampened with water—to introduce MiO water enhancer, a new product for adding flavor and color to water without adding calories. MiO revolutionized an industry and the printing technique captured it perfectly. How much more interactive can you get?


Merging digital and print media with “Video in Print” technology.

The immediacy of print. The sound and motion of video. Placed directly in the hands of the target audience. That’s the concept behind “Video in Print” technology pioneered by multisensory marketing company Americhip.

It’s made possible by an ultrathin video screen placed in a brochure or ad insert. Available in a number of different sizes, these units feature a rechargeable 70-minute capacity lithium ion power source and the ability to hold up to 45 minutes of high-definition video content. The unit can even be Web connected, allowing readers to follow tweets live on the screen. A USB charging port also allows for users to keep the unit and reuse it by loading their own content.

Major advertisers such as television networks (like the CW Network, shown here), automakers, pharmaceutical companies and others are using the technology to attract—or, after the sale, to educate—new customers. Quantities range from 100 pieces to 50,000. Cost depends on length of video, screen size, features and quantity, running between $30 and $60 per piece (not including printing, insertion or advertising media costs).

This level of interactivity may not be for every campaign, but more and more creative firms and advertisers are pushing the boundaries to differentiate a brand.


SMS technology and a super-thin device make the world’s first fully interactive print ad possible.

A keypad device, thin enough to be placed in a print ad and enabled with Short Message Service (SMS) technology for exchanging text messages, recently took speed and convenience to a whole new level for potential customers of car insurance provider RSA.

Type in your mobile number and vehicle license plate number, press send, and the process is complete. A quote arrives by text message soon after. The ad is fully shareable, enabling anyone who wants to get a quote to obtain one at no obligation, extending opportunities to maximize return on a unit cost that runs from the mid-$20s to mid-$50s, depending on quantity.


See it. Tap it. Find it. Buy it.

New multi-platform app Magnetique captures the power of print to convert readers into shoppers—and buyers.

Print magazines continue to be the primary media for reaching and inspiring women shopping for the latest fashions. But for readers, actually finding an item they’ve just fallen in love with can be a time-consuming, frustrating experience.

Until now. Magnetique, offers immediate gratification for women who see an item they love. Simply open the app, hold a mobile device over the page and tap “capture.” All product details appear and geolocation technology enables instant display of a list of nearby stores carrying the item— exact address, phone number and, if available, online shopping information.

Magnetique recently debuted in the pages of InStyle and will add other major fashion magazines. It’s a win-win-win-win—a way for magazines to offer dramatically increased value to advertisers; a means for brands to connect directly to consumers; a potential driver of in-store traffic for retailers of all sizes; and most important of all, a whole new level of control and convenience for fashion shoppers.