Despite the boom in online advertising and the ongoing and ever-expanding market for broadcast commercials, the age-old art of the print ad continues to be an incredibly creative and inventive field of graphic design.
This post brings together 20 of the best print ads of 2012 so far – a mixture of comic, touching, visually explosive and brilliantly clever designs that are united by their superb execution.
1. Maxam Toothpaste: Civilization Egypt
With the tagline ‘Don’t let germs settle down’, this amazing advertisement from the JWT Shanghai agency is for Maxam Toiletries’ toothpaste. The image is at once fascinating, disturbing and undeniably eye-catching, and was the winner of the Gold Outdoor and Gold Press Lions awards at Cannes International Festival of Creativity.
2. Sanofi Targifor: Rowing
Sao Paulo agency Publicis produced this beautiful illustrational ad design for Trafigor. The image depicts the argumentative effects of tiredness on a team of rowers.
3. Sony Entertainment Television / CSI: Homework
Another winning ad from Brazilian agency Publicis, this time for Sony Entertainment Television CSI Reruns, reflecting the addictively distracting nature of the TV show.
4. Stabilo Boss: Highlighted, Maria Antonieta
This fantastically illustrated and darkly comic ad design for Stabilo Boss highlighter marker pens shows the imminent execution of Marie Antoinette. Digital artist Ricardo Salamanca created the illustration for Prolam Y&R, Santiago, Chile.
5. Fundacion Padre Hurtado: Drunk
This is another ad from the Chilean agency Prolam Y&R, part of a series of hard-hitting creations with the message ‘You are the key’. The adverts are for the Fundacion Padre Hurtado, which aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable children. The campaign’s art director is Sergio Araya and the illustrator is Gonzalo Arevalo.
6. Ray Ban: Never hide
Paris based ad agency Marcel produced this print advert for Ray Ban as part of the US sunglass brand’s 75th anniversary. With the tagline ‘Never hide’, the ads show people living their lives and openly expressing themselves, such as this smartly-dressed gay couple strolling hand-in-hand along a New York City sidewalk in 1942.
7. United Colors of Benetton: Unhate
Clothing brand United Colors Benetton is renowned for its provocative ads, and its campaign entitled ‘Unhate’ is no exception. The series of images features digitally-manipulated images of world leaders embraced in kisses, such as this design depicting US president Barack Obama in an intimate moment with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez. The campaign signaled the launch of the UNHATE Foundation, a Benetton Group project aiming to build a culture against hate.
8. MASP Art School: Dissected, Dali
DDB Brazil created this ad for the MASP Art School in Sao Paulo as part of an inventive campaign. The ads feature artists Salvador Dali, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso ‘dissected’ with their innards painted in the style of each artist’s work.
9. Volkswagen: Nightmare Spots
DDB Group Sydney produced the ‘Nightmare Spots’ ad campaign for Volkswagen Australia to highlight the car manufacturer’s Park Assist technology. Each ad shows the type of difficult reverse parking scenarios in which the technology helps the driver.
10. DB Export Dry: The Wine List
Colenso BBDO, Australia, produced this ad for DB Breweries, a humorous take on the difficulty in interpreting a restaurant wine list, and the option to select a sophisticated lager such as DB Export Dry instead. Copywriters Simon Vicars and Levi Slavin created the text, demonstrating that it is possible to execute a successful ad with nothing but the written word.
11. Lego: Big Bang
Costa Rican agency Ogilvy produced this stunning image for Lego, casting the colourful bricks as the original building blocks of the universe. Illustrator Gerardo Valerio created the beautiful big bang imagery.
12. Carlton Mid: Spending too much time with the wife?
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne developed the ‘Spending too much time with the wife?’ print ad campaign for Fosters Group’s Carlton Mid, with a series of unnerving double portraits of similarly attired and coiffured couples.
13. Ô Fiô Bier Bar: Real date
This Brazilian ad for the Ô Fiô Bier Bar hints at the hidden risks of online dating and suggests that you should ‘Get out of web affairs. Have a real date.’
14. Beijing Sports Radio: Boxing
Ogilvy & Mather, Hong Kong produced this print ad for Beijing Sports Radio, with the boxing ring manipulated into a speech bubble.
15. Government of Bahia: Air Show
Brazilian agency Leiaute created this series of print ads to promote the Government of Bahia’s air show at Barra’s Lighthouse in Salvador, with the sequential images designed to reproduce the sensation of a barrel roll on a stunt plane.
16. Queen Bee Salon & Spa: Guide to Private Hairstyles
Ad agency Hanlon Worldwide Industries produced this cheeky print design for the Queen Bee Salon and Spa in Santa Monica, California. The ad provides inspiration for the spa’s clients when selecting a ‘hairstyle.’
17. Save the Children: Kitchen Circle
Y&R, México developed this ad as part of series for Save the Children highlighting the circular nature of violence and abuse in families, delivering the message to ‘Break the circle.’
18. Toyota FJ Cruiser 4×4: Curve
This subtle ad for the Toyota FJ Cruiser 4×4 has the scene of an apparent accident but with the barriers bent into the road, suggesting the vehicle has leapt across the canyon and landed safely on the tarmac.
19. Compactor Cia de Canetas: Darth
Rio de Janeiro ad agency Grupo Unlike de Comunicação created this Star Wars themed design showing the power of the MaxxLux highlighter pen.
20. National Geographic, Dog Whisperer: Wrong father
Finally, this ad was developed by Johannesburg based agency Ireland Davenport for the National Geographic Channel, with a gold retriever questioning the paternity of his partner’s litter of spotty puppies and the tagline ‘Dogs have issues too.’