When you imagine yourself viewing an interactive print ad, the first thought that probably pops into your head is something along the lines of ‘That’s exciting, but do I need to download an app on my phone to view the interactive element?’

With brands like Sainsburys and Lexus increasingly looking to augmented reality as a way of staying ahead of their competition, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on just how effective the simple, old school interactive print adverts can be – those which utilise the art of creative design to bring adverts to life.

Whilst we don’t contest that the latest AR software isn’t an incredible addition to the advertisers technological toolbox and one which (with a little thought) has the potential to significantly enhance the consumer experience, not all businesses have the budgets to employ such expensive technology in their ad campaigns.

But luckily, advertising legend is rife with examples of how effective creative design-led interactive print ads can be, and all without costing your entire marketing budget for the next quarter.

Here are a few of our team’s favourites.

Carlsberg’s ‘probably the best ad in the world’ campaign is an example that immediately comes to mind when talking about interactive print ads. Carlsberg produced a plain print ad that included basic instructions for removing and physically folding the paper the ad was printed on to create a make-shift bottle-opener! Mind blowing!

Adidas were another brand that took it right back to basics in 2011. Purchasing a series of two-page spreads they precisely positioned an image of a women doing sit-ups on the centrefold. When the consumer opened and closed the pages, it gave the impression the woman was working out! They were the ones with the power to transform the ad from static into interactive in front of their very eyes.

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It’s incredible how the introduction of inexpensive mechanisms such as a simple flap, additional layer and/or added textures can also make ads become interactive. A number of international brands have taken this approach in the past and produced some incredibly entertaining, memorable and creative adverts that break the boundaries of a simple print advert. For example Special K, ASPCA.ORG, Schick Quarto and many more.

Special K’s ad was called ‘Peace of Mind’ and utilised a single flap. The ad contained only a product shot of a tub of oatmeal, but hidden under the lid (flap) was written the message ‘a small tub of oatmeal could include as many calories as a doughnut.’ By adding this extra dimension the ad became instantly more effective and memorable to their target segment of health-conscious consumers.

Peugeot even went as far as adding a mini inflatable airbag to one of their print ads. When you opened the double-page-spread the air bag instantly inflated, reinforcing the brands commitment to safety. Despite the fact that only 50000 of these were published in one Brazilian magazine, it was so effective that the ad is still talked about in the UK.

More recently in 2013, again in Brazil, Nivea developed a print advert that used solar technology that had the power to charge the consumers phone while they ‘enjoy the sun’. The advert consisted of a small solar panel and a usb port. Combined with the power of viral marketing, the clever campaign was seen across the world.

Finally, to one of our favourites. See below the ad that Saatchi & Saatchi produced for Israel-based real estate company Shikun & Binui. By holding up this monochrome hand-drawn advert to the sunlight, the advert is brought to life with colour and content appearing as if by magic. The ad had a very clear message, Shikun & Bunui understand houses. They know the importance of the direction a house faces and the subsequent light that the house receives. An incredibly clever advert.

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To summarise, you don’t need a massive marketing budget in place to be a part of the interactive print game. Whilst AR technology has been taking the ad world by storm in recent years, advetisers creative ideas and design abilities are still the winner.