Sam Balsara has a bone to pick with the magazine ad industry.
At a recent awards event in Delhi, India, the founder and chair of Madison World was largely disappointed by the level of creativity he sees in current magazine work.
“When I first joined advertising, a director’s delight knew no bounds if the account execute promised a double spread ad in Stardust or India Today and the amount of effort that would go into creating the double spread ad would be phenomenal, almost turning an agency turn upside down in the process,” he said to the audience at the event.
According to this article in Exchange4Media, he feels that magazine ad creativity is at an all-time low. He blames, among other things, the lack of awards and press coverage for ad winners.
“Even today there are several capable people who can create strong magazine advertising, but it’s just that they are wasted in ad agencies or their creative capabilities don’t get to bloom fully,” he said.
I don’t know if that’s really the case. While it’s absolutely true that a lot of young design talent is now working in digital, there is no dearth of creativity in print. In fact, there’s a lot of celebrating from this past year, like the smoking hot Burning Stores series from Burger King.
It could be different in the Indian marketplace; admittedly I’m not terribly familiar with what’s going on in that region. From here, we see creativity thriving in print ads, thanks to the constraints inherent in physical media.
Take Toyota’s flip-book style ad in a recent issue of The Fader.
“It’s been a good month for inventive magazine advertising, and Toyota continues that with a very cute execution in The Fader, featuring a flip-book style animation across 30 editorial pages—showing the C-HR spinning around the page numbers and then driving off the page entirely, leaving a fuchsia trail behind it,” Tim Nudd wrote in AdWeek back in November.
Really, it’s a fairly brilliant example of how to engage your key demographic in a tactile way; what 20-something doesn’t love a good flip book, and a quick trip back to the days before they had to start “adulting”?
Back in 2014, Simon Creasey boldly declared “If print dies it’s the end of creativity in advertising.” He made that statement after interviewing some of the world’s top designers on why print holds such a sacred place in the creative mindset.
We’ve said it before; print is only boring if your designer is treating it that way. For those who accept the challenge to raise the bar, the creative potential for print ads is, well, limitless.