What Luxury Brands Know about Print Ads…

David Arnold knows a thing or two about the high-end consumer. As managing director of The Robb Report, his day job involves breathing the rarified air of the world of luxury cars, travel, watches, fashion and “the good life.”

Like most media brands, Arnold and his team have expanded in new channels to engage their audience, but print remains a stalwart cornerstone of the luxury ad market, according to Jessica Patterson writing in FIPP.

Patterson cites a recent Zenith report on luxury ad spending, saying: “According to the report, broad luxury advertising is driving growth, and high luxury advertising is overwhelmingly print-based.”

This preference for print ads is still true in spite of inroads that digital advertising is making in the luxury market, she notes.  For the Robb Report, this is reflected in planned updates to their print magazine, which is seeing strong results in advertising in certain high-end categories like watches, luxury resorts, private aviation, jewelry and luxury cars.

Yet consumers are increasingly interested in the “see now, want now” capabilities offered by digital. Does this leave a future for print in the luxury market?

According to Hafizah Hazahal, it absolutely does. Hazahal, also writing in FIPP, cited several reports that show that magazines offer unparalleled deep engagement — some studies say the average read for a print magazine is close to an hour, as consumers weary of the short bite and want a deeper read that digital simply can’t match.

Magazines also offer unique benefits that are perfectly suited to the luxury advertiser, including trust, value and relevance among their target audience.

As to the immediate gratification aspect, for print brands the answer could lie in augmented reality.

“Aligning with this ‘see-now, buy-now’ initiative by brands, magazines are leveraging new technologies to meet consumers’ demand for instant gratification,” Hazahal explains.

“In print, augmented reality is being used to transport consumers from the print page to the website through their smartphones,” he continues. “This enriches the brand experience for the magazine reader, bringing them through from awareness to purchase.”

Meanwhile, luxury publishers like the Robb Report rely on their customers to direct their business, not technical trends or socials fads.

“We listen to our clients. We spend time in the marketplace with our audience and understand the needs, passions and curiosities of the luxury customer,” Arnold explains. “Combining this intelligence helps us to formulate ideas, products and programs that resonate in the market.”

What resonates for luxury retailers, clearly, is high-end print. And the publishing world seems more ready than ever to deliver.