In a world of so many distractions, newspapers command high levels of attention.

Sixty percent of readers do not consume any other media at the same time as reading a newspaper, according to Newsworks’ research with PwC. Whether you’re settling down with the Saturday spread or catching up on the commute, it’s likely you’re going to be focussed on what’s in front of you. Let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to multi-task while reading.

As a result, print is the perfect place for advertisers to capitalise on people’s attention with eye-catching, interesting ads. Check out some examples from the past couple of weeks.

Refuge

Some of the best print ads depict beautiful designs and amazing imagery, but some feature nothing more than words and are equally effective. At the start of January, Refuge ran a text-based ad in newspapers that bought home the terror of domestic violence. Read normally and the tale is a standard account of New Year’s Eve, but read it backward and it tells a different story.

The New Year’s ad from Refuge forced people to rethink what ringing in the year is really like for some people.
The New Year’s ad from Refuge forced people to rethink what ringing in the year is really like for some people.

British Airways

At first glance, BA’s ad is fairly unassuming. The size and simplicity defy the usual characteristics of an attention-grabbing creative, yet there is something about the ticket — almost tactile, sitting on the page — that draws the eye. It’s then that you realise each ticket carries the name of a famous Brit in celebration of the airline’s centenary. It’s the sort of detail that works so brilliantly as a newspaper ad, when people are fully engaged in the content in front of them.

The airline ad featured prominent Brits.
The airline ad featured prominent Brits.

Tu Clothing

The supermarket clothing range championed breast diversity with a simple but effective double-page spread in The Sun. The bold graphics can’t fail but grab attention and create curiosity, drawing readers in to read more about the cause: “Every woman deserves a bra that makes her feel amazing.”

The Tu Clothing print ad spoke to women of all shapes and sizes.
The Tu Clothing print ad spoke to women of all shapes and sizes.

Mary Poppins

For the launch of the West End stage show of Mary Poppins, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh ran a standout cover wrap on The Evening Standard in the form of a replica front page. Headlined “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious original is back on stage,” the long-copy wrap taps into the “read all about it” heritage of print newspapers — a fitting tribute to the storyline’s era.

The special Mary Poppins spread recalled news coverage from the time period.
The special Mary Poppins spread recalled news coverage from the time period.

HSBC

With Brexit dominating headlines, HSBC’s “we are not an island” creative is a timely tribute to the United Kingdom’s diversity and the influence of other countries on our day-to-day lives. While the ad sparked controversy over perceived anti-Brexit sentiment, the debate doesn’t detract from the power of the ad. The fact advertising continues to fuel discussion is surely no bad thing.

It may have been controversial, but the recent HSBC ad got people talking.
It may have been controversial, but the recent HSBC ad got people talking.

Good ads engage and intrigue, prompting people to pause, take the message in, and find out more. That’s no small feat considering how much content we are all exposed to on a daily basis. The above examples show how advertisers can capitalise on readers’ engagement with print to command attention via clever copy, original ideas, and bold creative.