Despite the fact that we are deep in a digital age, print publications still matter — even to the younger generation.
A whopping 92% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 23 said they prefer printed content over digital content because they find it easier to read.
Likewise, millennials — the “emerging consumer powerhouse” — hold print ads in very high regard, according to a study that found 51%-54% of them pay attention to catalogs and magazines.
Magazine ads can be a great way to generate brand awareness and in turn, revenue. But it all hinges on a unique and compelling attention-grabbing design.
That’s why we’re breaking down the top 10 best magazine ad design examples of 2021 (so far).
Did you know that print advertising delivers the highest return on investment of any medium? On average, for every dollar spent, advertisers can expect a return of $3.94.
Print ads are the most trusted advertising channel when consumers make purchasing decisions. 82% of them say they trust magazine ads and 67% of Americans say they still prefer printed materials over digital.
Paper ads have a unique advantage over digital ads, in their ability to connect emotionally with the minds of consumers, according to neuroscience research.
To test whether this rings true, let’s conduct a little experiment – as you look at the following ads, try to evaluate your reaction to them. Is it positive? Would you buy any of these products or use any of these services? How trustworthy do you think they are?
Let’s take a look at some of the most creative, outrageous, ingenious and downright funny magazine ads that have captured the attention of readers.
The simple tagline of “Pass the Heinz” is rooted in pop-culture, so it might sound familiar. It originated from the popular TV series “Mad Men.” In one of the episodes, marketing guru Don Draper pitches a series of Heinz ads with images of food but no ketchup in sight.
His next move?
Saying “Pass the Heinz.”
The idea was that people would fill in the gaps themselves and associate the brand with photos of food that traditionally goes with ketchup.
This creates a strong association with the product and the brand in the minds of consumers. An agency called DAVID Miami hopped on board and created ads based on the tagline.
The intelligent design of this iPod shuffle ad uses the product to map out a running route around New York City’s Central Park.
The device is often used by joggers and people that like to listen to music while they walk or run, so the ad is a creative way to present the product as relatable to consumers.
Miami Ad School designed a Sharpie print ad that makes a play on a famous logo – The Rolling Stones logo.
The tagline “It all started with a Sharpie” points out the longevity and historical importance of this product that took part in the creation of some of the most iconic imagery known across the globe.
Ogilvy’s print campaign for the travel brand Expedia uses three-letter airport codes to convey messaging that readers will associate with the splendors of taking a vacation in exotic locations.
As the story goes, one of the agency’s employees saw a woman at an airport with the IATA code “FUK” hanging off of her suitcase, which prompted the idea.
The messaging “Find whatever floats your boat” appears in passport-style stamp just below, making for a creative, humorous and memorable ad.
This is an example how an unfortunate event can be used for advertising purposes from a different angle. The ad is laced with a bit of dark humor, so it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it’s sure to stand out.
Fast-food chain Burger King holds an infamous record for most restaurants that have burned down. They also take very vocal pride in flame-grilling their meat and not frying it.
Put these two together and what do you get? The innovative ad above, conceived and executed by DAVID Miami.
This ingenious use of magazine fold demonstrates how space and surface can play integral roles in ad design and its message.
The Adidas: Forever Sport campaign’s double-page spread uses the fold and images of women exercising in such a way that when a reader opens and closes the pages, the persons will stretch, lift weights and perform crunches, bringing the ad to life.
DDB Tribal, Volkswagen’s advertising agency, created a print ad campaign that communicates the features and benefits of the automotive brand’s Park Assist system.
They highlighted the risk associated with the “tight squeeze” when two cars are parked close to each other. The ad uses a porcupine with its pointy back and goldfish in fragile bags filled with water.
The risk of the porcupine puncturing one of the bags looks inevitable, but the ad is letting the reader know that VW’s Park Assist system makes sure that nothing of the kind – or at least the real-life equivalent – will happen.
Creative utilities such as pencils are often embedded in the minds of people as the sources and instruments of inspiration. Faber-Castell pencil company kept this idea in mind when creating the above ad.
It showcases the tip of a pen as a spotlight for an aspiring musician in the middle of an “aha” moment of revelation. The tagline “In every pencil, there is an idea waiting to be discovered,” leaves no doubt as to what the message of the ad is.
As part of their “Big Cat, Small Cat” campaign, Whiskas employed Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO agency to come up with an ad that would communicate the way the company’s cat food is in touch with a cat’s primordial nature.
The “Feeding your cat’s instincts” copy and an image of a domestic cat chasing an antelope convey the message of making all-natural, top-quality cat food loud and clear.
Saatchi & Saatchi is behind this visually striking print ad showcasing Moscow’s St. Basil’s church. The fantasy-like imagery shows the unknown world beneath the surface, in which the church is much larger and more grand than believed.
Of course, this is make-believe: the ad campaign is for the Schusev State Museum of Architecture and features the tagline ”Discover the full story.”
Now that we’ve looked at these stellar magazine ad design examples, it’s time to dissect them and reveal the common denominators that make them so memorable.
Certain best practices can help you create a print ad that cuts through the noise and engages viewers. Keep these five helpful tips in mind:
The human eye sees objects in their entirety before noticing their individual parts. This is known as the Gestalt principle, which consists of five aspects print ads should follow:
Magazine ads are only impactful if they’re focused on delivering a single message. Cramming ad copy with multiple benefits and features results in a jumbled and overwhelming design that requires a lot of effort to read.
This repels a reader’s attention instead of grabbing it. One message per ad is the most effective recipe for hooking magazine readers and getting them to read the rest of your ad. Emphasizing one benefit or feature makes it easy for the audience to understand its value.
Readers will remember your ad when it’s a single line of copy that effectively explains how the product/service will benefit their lives.
By exaggerating a product’s benefits in a way that is witty, intelligent and infused with humor, advertisers capture the attention of the audience and trigger an emotional response.
For example, the Faber-Castell ad we looked at earlier presents the process of inspiration and illumination as something truly grandiose and spectacular. And it’s coming from a very simple object – a pencil!
A sense of balance in an ad’s image conveys a feel of unity and ties the entire design together. The rule of thirds is one of the oldest and most reliable methods of achieving balance.
By dividing the image into thirds, ad designers center the main focal point on the outer vertical line and center it on the horizontal line, making the image more dynamic and interesting.
It is advisable to view your layout under the grid, which should help create underlying unity and structure for design.
The brain is programmed to predict outcomes. This allows human beings to anticipate what is going to happen and how to react to it.
Predictable print ads need only a hint of thought to be understood, which typically makes them boring. Marketers can avoid this predictability by forcing the audience to think just a little bit harder about the ad by turning it into a game.
Framing the ad like a game that readers can “beat” ensures the audience will be engaged by the ad and will interact with it to grasp the advertisement’s message.
Print ads still capture the interest and attention of millions, especially millennials and younger demographics, despite the advent of digital age.
The best graphic design magazine ad examples we’ve listed in this article showcase the perfect synergy of concise, benefits-oriented copy, intelligent and humorous angles and unique and stunning visuals.