More Courage, Please! – A Plea for More Creativity in Print Communication

That’s just the way it should be: an image that tells a story which emotionally touches the senses and not merely depicts a product. A matching line. How wonderful that Mercedes-Benz also rediscovered creative print communication with the innovative Grow-Up! campaign. Yet such pearls are rare in German magazines. Why is that so? Is it the briefing of the customer? The lack of creativity of the agencies or the mainstream of digital ad formats? It is time for print communication to show its strengths: exceptional visuals, emotional stories, magic staging and eye-catching innovations.


The creative mind in the management of Burda marketer BCN is Michael Samak, advertising specialist and former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi. He is Burda's specialist for creative, innovative and individual advertising forms, especially in print magazines. Samak reveals his five theses for more creativity in print advertising:

Creativity loves print
The 2/1 and 1/1 4c had undoubtedly seen better days – yet this does not apply for advertising in print magazines. Magazines are not only advertising media, they are also brand products. They stand for exclusive journalism, visual and haptic appeal as well as inspiring advertising environments - and offer thus the best prerequisites for creative advertising. The magazine market is growing - especially the special interest titles. Successful launches in recent years such as Freeman's WorldFoodboom or „Flow“ bear witness of the passion for innovation with regard to specialized content. Readers can expect numerous new magazines this year as well. Burda sells more than 300 million magazines currently, all the German publishing houses together 1.7 billion. This is a clear statement, also as far as the importance of advertising in magazines is concerned. Consumers are deliberately opting for magazine brands and their individual content, although there is a sheer endless mass of digital content for free - because they love magazines!  

Creativity understands consulting
Creativity starts with the identification of the customer’s needs: What is the real challenge for our customers? What barriers must be overcome? What should consumers think and feel about the brand? Which sort of content inspires the readers? Experts in advertising offer customized, integrated and efficient communication solutions that provide answers to these questions. New narrative forms, innovations in special ad formats, further developments of editorial shoots and new carriers for commercial content are examples of the new expertise in the publishing houses.

Creativity embraces technology
Consumers have an increased need for individuality. They want products with a special, personal touch. And they want to be addressed personally. Individual approach requires a great amount of knowledge about the readers. This is precisely where magazines have great potential for advertising customers: use consumer data to better understand target groups and assess their needs accurately. Use the manifold possibilities of print technology – unexpected perspectives will be opened: creative, individually customized print motifs – such as personalized covers that directly address subscribers by their names or other individual motives. The interplay between smart phone and magazine brands offers additional potential. The award-winning “photographs taken with the iPhone 6” campaign demonstrates in an outstanding way how individually advertising motifs can be interpreted in the various media brands.  

Creativity desires content
Consumers love the high-quality editorial content of good magazines, but creative print ads also inspire consumers for commercial offers. Advertising in magazines is perceived by readers as part of the overall staging. Brand messages are natively integrated into the editorial content if they are customized to target the audience of the individual magazines. After all, advertising will only have an in-depth effect when it surprises, entertains, informs and appeals to our senses. We at BCN follow therefore a new approach: brand communication and desirable content should go hand in hand. Meanwhile there are innumerable examples of creative stagings with commercial content (this kind of content must be flagged as such of course).
Creativity needs to be open
All advertisers will sooner or later abandon their brand-centric visions and place the consumers at the centre of their communication. Media will continue to open up for advertising and collaborate with customers in terms of content. Magazines have great creative potential. They offer high-quality environments, content and visual competence, exclusive content, highly involved target groups and enormous reach. Magazines really know their readers; they can produce desirable brand content - desirable for the reader not for marketing. No visual or content break shall interfere with the reading experience. If the media will become part of the creative process and will develop individual advertising campaigns for magazine brands, great things will happen.





Michael Samak

Michael Samak

Tel. +49.(0) 89.92 50.46 70
Fax +49.(0) 89.92 50.29 91