Print ads can still be the most powerful medium for getting your message across, as these highly innovative print advertising campaigns show.
In these days of viral videos, it's easy to overlook the art of print ads, but it's as relevant and powerful as ever. As Paul Arden states in It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be: "Print advertising should be recognisable at a hundred paces, and it should be obvious who it's an ad for without seeing the brand name."
Despite what you can achieve with software like Photoshop, you still need a concept that's going to stick in people's minds. We think these examples do just that. Take a look at our list of amazing, innovative print ads and we guarantee you'll be oozing with inspiration by the time you reach the bottom...
01. Penguin Books
Last year, Penguin Books promoted its audiobooks with a brilliant print ad campaign featuring illustrations of three well known authors - William Shakespeare, Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde - acting as headphones and whispering in the ears of their listeners.
Developed by team at McCann Worldgroup India, the campaign went on to won a Gold Press Lion at Cannes International Festival of Creativity
02. Moms Demand Action
Moms Demand Action, a collective of mothers calling for gun law reform, was behind this hard-hitting ad campaign, which focused on children in schools.
'Choose One' features children carrying weapons, alongside classmates holding either a Kinder Surprise egg, the book 'Little Red Riding Hood' and a ball from the schoolyard game Dodgeball. One child is holding something that's been banned in America to protect them, with the audience asked to guess which one.
This ingenious pad campaign by Ogilvy & Mather for travel brand Expedia uses airport IATA codes to great effect. The idea came about after the team noticed a woman walking through Heathrow with the word FUK hanging off her suitcase.
With over 9,000 airports around the world, each with its own three-letter code to choose from, the team created a series of prints, using a tagline in the form of passport stamp, which says 'Find whatever floats your boat'.
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Whiskas campaign features a household cat in various scenarios in the wild of Africa. Highlighting the basic instincts in a cat, the clever 'Big Cat, Small Cat' campaign was shot by photographer George Logan.
Depicting a small furry feline as a big cat in the wild, the series of prints include the domestic animal hunting down gazelles, elephants and zebras in the wild. And we're particularly fond of the ad that shows fully grown male lion bonding with the same cat as if they were family.
When you have such an iconic product as the Mini, you don't always have to do something particularly clever or involved to make your point. And this silly campaign, casting the much-loved motor in an uncharacteristically sinister light, struck just the right note of fun for us last Halloween.
Earlier this month, BBDO Spain released this powerful print ad campaign for the World Wildlife Fund. Featuring a white polar bear in a garage workshop, the aim is to highlight that there are no tools that can fix extinction.
07. Velo marathon
We love this design for the European Velo Marathon, an annual biking event in which around 10,000 cyclists take part. Designed by McCann Erickson, Lithuania, the clever concept features a city-like scene set on the gears of a bike, accompanied by the tagline 'Move the City'.
To advertise the fact that you can get more than 620 miles out of single tank of fuel with Volkswagen's Amarok, ad agency Below developed a series of print ads, inviting people to 'turn on adventure'. The clever concept features three images with the groves of the car keys transformed into a city, safari and mountain landscape.
09. Alzas Bajas magazine
This beautiful print ad was developed by JWT, Buenos Aires for Argentinian magazine Alzas Bajas. The team created four paper art images, including this gorgeous wildlife scene. Each are accompanied a small amount of explanatory text followed by the tagline 'more information, less risk'.
McDonald's is constantly coming up with innovative new ways of advertising, this brilliant print ad being its latest offering. The eye-catching design, created by TBWA Shanghai, features a box of fries, carved from the very ingredient from which they're made.
11. Beck's: Art in Progress
British born, New York-based design studio Vault49 brought its inimitable style to this illustration-led campaign for Beck's beer. Reflecting a growing trend for production-line-style visuals that reflect the creation process - also noticeable in Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe campaign - the ad explores the different elements that go into a bottle of Beck's, from an imaginative, conceptual viewpoint rather than a literal representation of the production process.
12. Pantone: Rain Edition
A collaborative effort between Italian creatives Giuliano Lo Re and Matteo Gallinelli, this inspiring campaign for Pantone puts colour front and centre, as you'd expect for the kings of the special ink. But rather than play the well-worn rainbow card, the duo opted to explore the relationship between colour and water - particularly rainwater.
13. Marmite: Don't Forget It
Adam&EveDDB have gone one step further with the 'Love it or hate it' theme in this latest print and TV campaign for Marmite, satirising animal cruelty appeals by "raising awareness" of woefully neglected Marmite jars across Britain. You can watch the accompanying TV commercial here.
14. Free the children
This hard-hitting print ad aims to raise awareness of child labour. With the tag line 'less than 5% of the world's fashion budget would put every child in school,' the team at Mohawk College have certainly hit home with this simple but effective offering.
15. Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional
Costa Rica based advertising agency Garnier BBDO came up with this brilliant campaign for Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional with the idea of 'video game music'. The set of ads feature a Playstation 3 controller as well as a joy stick and an old school Nintendo controller.
Terrifying but brilliant, this is one of those print ads that shouldn't work but somehow does. The advertisement for Duracell features a sinister-looking doll in the doorway of a little girl's playroom, accompanied by the tagline 'Some toys never die'.
Developed by advertising agency Grey in Singapore, this is certainly a unique way to promote longer-lasting batteries. It's a bit left-field, and completely terrifying, but we love it nonetheless.
17. Dog Chow
The best print ads manage to combine brilliant art direction whilst still maintaining the brand's image and ethos. And here's a great example that instantly put a smile on our faces.
Dog Chow is a brand new dog food from Purina and Columbian designer Cristhian Ramírez was tasked with creating a series of ads for its latest campaign, entitled 'Stop treating your dog like a trashcan'. The creative director and head of art at Publicis, Ramírez produced a number of striking character designs that really hit home when it comes to the health of your dog.
A species in rapid decline, the African penguin needs help. South African advertising agency Bittersuite and SANCOOB, a non-profit organisation that aims to protect threatened seabirds, recently developed this innovative series of print ads to raise awareness of the penguin's critical situation.
Inspired by the artwork of Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, two of the designs feature clever optical illusions to draw the viewer in for a closer look and get their message across. The third draws inspiration from optometrists' eye charts, featuring a timeline of different sized penguins to show the decline in the species.
19. Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF)
Each of the five print ads features a gorgeous illustration and the tagline 'Get in touch with your inner child'. Some of the drawings contain mature content but the cartoon-style characters and graphics maintain a fun, tongue-in-cheek element to the campaign.
20. Dumb Ways to Die
Back in November, Melbourne Australia's Metro train system decided to take a different approach to public safety video. Their ad 'Dumb Ways to Die' - featuring animated characters playing out the lyrics of a comedy song about idiotic deaths - quickly became a viral hit and won a series of awards. The campaign, created in conjunction with Melbourne ad agency McCann, has now inspired a series of print ads - and they're just as brilliant. We love how the cuteness of the character designs is balanced by the goriness of their deaths.
21. Publinews Braille Edition
International journal Publinews recently commissioned ad agency el Taier/Tribu DDB and creative director Jorge Solórzano to create a set of prints to advertise its braille edition. The minimalist ads feature illustrations of Lady Gaga, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong, Lionel Messi and Pope Francisco among delicate fingerprints. Each is accompanied by a caption relating to recent news about each individual.
22. Wacom Bamboo
To promote design tablet king Wacom's popular Bamboo products, art director and illustrator Maria Molina developed this set of prints under the tagline 'Creativity has no boundaries'. The series includes three illustrations, each featuring various designer tools with a twist. Bright colours, minimal text and simple graphics work perfectly together in this campaign.
This hard-hitting print ad campaiging against gun violence comes from advertising and marketing agency Grey New York. The campaign, which features three human targets, including a small baby, calls for an update to the USA's antiquated gun laws. The ad, commissioned by non-profit organisation States United to Prevent Gun Violence, features the tagline 'Bullets leave bigger holes than you think'.
24. SMS mistype
We all know the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving. But we really like the simple but clever way ad agency Gitam BBDO points out the obvious facts in this road safety message from car manufacturer Opel. The cool print has a black background, replicating a phone while at the same time making the white box of text all the more prominent. A simple but really effective concept.
25. Pie Chart
UK newspaper The Guardian recently commissioned advertising agency BBH London to create this eye-catching print to show its readers they get the full story. The print is clean and cleverly designed to convey its message. With a purple background, the piece features a simple pie chart, The Guardian logo and a legend with the words 'the whole picture' next to each colour.
26. Dallas Farmers Market
Healthy foods at affordable prices. That's the message behind this clever campaign from ad agency Firehouse for Dallas Farmers Market. Illustrations of fresh fruit and veg cleverly make up a box of fries, hamburger, bag of sweets, and an ice cream in the series of colourful posters.
27. Powers Whiskey
Powers is the second biggest whiskey brand in the Republic of Ireland. To promote it, photographer Andy Glass collaborated with creative production studio Taylor James, resulting in a series of gorgeous prints depicting its honey notes, earthy tones and distinctive barley essence. The Taylor James team integrated Glass's landscape photography into the liquid and retouched the four images to create a beautifully photorealistic look for the outdoor print campaign.
28. Schusev State Museum of Architecture
This beautiful illustration of St Basil's church in Moscow was created by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi to promote the information available at the Schusev State Museum of Architecture. The campaign features a series of beautiful photographs of famous Russian landmarks, all of which travel underground and feature the tagline 'Discover the full story'.
29. OndAzul NGO: Sardine
With a tag line of, "Is it what you expect to find in the sea? Neither do the fishes", there's plenty you can work with. Advertising agency Quê based in Brazil went with this strong idea across three print ads.
The photography is exceptional, with the clashing colours and careful shadow work. We especially fell in love with the font used for the hard-hitting slogan - almost childlike, it evokes the innocence of nature and the danger that the sea faces.
30. Parma Dairy Products: Story
Dairy products often try to target the parent market as we all know that kids need it to grow big and strong. Sometimes, these ads can seem a little forced and often appear a bit too cutesy for our liking but this effort from El Taier/Tribu DD is brilliant.
Using two instantly recognisible stories for both parent and child, this advert will appeal to both. The simple illustration makes it clear and consise without being too busy. The campaign features cameras and games consoles but it's this sweet story approach that really caught our eye.