The ‘Magic of Print’ is Usain Bolt of Media

17 Sep,2012

By A Correspondent


From left to right: Josy Paul, Shashi Sinha, Alyque Padamsee, Vikram Sakhuja and Rajiv Verma at the unveiling of ‘The Magic of Print’

We live in an era where technology is at the core of everything that we do. Whether it is about updating ourselves about new product launches or being abreast of the developments that transpire around the world, technology has enabled us to consume news at the quickest time possible – and without burning a hole in our pockets. Amidst this reality, it is the traditional mediums that seem to be taking the brunt of this newfound liking between consumers. From television to out-of-home and even print, mediums today are being threatened to put up a fight and adapt to this new truth or end up being relegated as the medium of yesteryears.


Celebrating the creativity of print advertising, HT Media on Friday, September 14, 2012 launched a coffee table book on print advertising – ‘The Magic of Print’. The hardbound volume features contribution from prominent Indian advertising expert Mr Alyque Padamsee.  The book comes complete with a treasure trove of outstanding print advertisements of the last few decades from around the world as well as tips on how to create great print ads. The content is put together by Rajan Bhalla, Head Corporate Marketing and Magazines, HT Media and Mr John Thangaraj, Vice President, Planning, LOWE Lintas.


Addressing a packed audience in Mumbai’s Taj Lands End, Rajiv Verma, CEO, HT Media Limited said that the best ads to remember are all print ads. In the earlier days, there was a certain charm to the print ads which you don’t find today. “I realise news and entertainment will be increasingly consumed on digital media, but print is nevertheless here to stay as long as the content is engaging, good and relevant.”


A panel discussion was also held which delved on the various aspects of print, the impact of innovations, and the future of print advertising and so on. Print is one of the best reach building medium, and while television basically relies on emotions, print requires more brain power. With the literacy rate growing, newspapers will not decline in a hurry, reading newspaper has become a habit and to break this habit will take a really long time. These were some of the points made at the panel discussion. The panelists included veteran adperson Alyque Padamsee; Vikram Sakhuja, Global CEO, Maxus (and CEO, Group M India and South Asia); Josy Paul, Chairman and National Creative Director, BBDO India; and Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar UM. The session was moderated by Sitaraman Shankar, Deputy Managing Editor, Hindustan Times.


According to Mr Paul, the magic of print is a sudden impact; it is the Usain Bolt of the media industry.


Mr Sakhuja pointed out that print is one of the best reach building medium and the top reason why most advertisers use print is for response, reach and editorial credibility.


Mr Padamsee observed, “Television is basically reliable to emotions whereas print which also relies on emotions at the same time requires brain power. Print is a medium which remains with you and it has a mandate, and the mandate is that it is a very reliable medium. If print is going down today, it is because it is not responding to today’s needs. I don’t think print media even realises, it is an excellent medium for knowledge and education. Once it realises this, the swing will automatically go back to print.”


So is there a success mantra for the growth of print? Will print die in the long run?


Mr Josy Paul was of the view that print must not be isolated but integrated and its impact must be maximized. Today innovations is almost a loose word, it has become a bad word, in fact there is a lack of idea today. “Print is in your DNA, so it cannot die, it has been alive for over 800 years, it can only evolve.”


Mr Vikram Sakhuja  explained, “Print won’t die in a hurry, it may be threatened by television or digital, but it won’t die in a hurry. There will a downward trend, starting with the metros, trickling down to smaller towns and villages, but it will certainly take some generations. In the long run however print will no longer be a mass medium as not many people will be consuming print.”


Mr Alyque Padamsee was of the view that newspapers have a big advantage of analysing news which is not the case with television as television is a surface medium. “Innovation I believe is great, but some innovations are memorable, and some are clever. However innovations alone won’t sell anything, there is a lack of thinking today as far as print ads are concerned.” He further said, “Any medium will die until they reinvent. Radio would have died a long time ago had they continued the way they were. Yes, even print will die, but they must re-invent to survive and to thrive. Cinema was expected to die after television came in, but they re-invented. As long as print is desirable, it will be buyable.”


While the panelists were of the view that print advertising needs to regain the charm it once had, there was a near unanimity among the panelists that print media is here to stay. However they were also of the view that if the medium was to die in the future, especially with the advent of digital, the death of the medium will be slow. The impact would first be witnessed in the metros which will trickle down to smaller towns and cities and in the long run, print will no longer remain a mass medium. Nonetheless as of today, the panelists were of the view that print advertising must not depend solely on innovation, that the medium must re-invent and make itself a desirable medium.


Shortly after the panel discussion, the book -‘The Magic of Print’ was unveiled.


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