If you’re among those who believe print is dead (or dying), you clearly haven’t seen the best print campaigns of 2021. Print is certainly far from dead, and in fact, it may stick around for a very long time still, in one form or another.
There may not be an overabundance of groundbreaking print campaigns, but the ones you’ll see featured in this roundup below all have some sort of a genius element to them, something that helps them go above and beyond to set new standards for how creative print campaigns can actually get.
What are the best print campaigns of 2021?
The most visionary print campaigns of 2021
Print campaigns have recently become affiliated with daring beyond imaginable. The most creative ones all have some kind of an unexpected twist to them, always going above and beyond expectations, always working to capture the attention of the user and keep their nose glued to the ad, until they either walk away or buy into the narrative. Usually the latter.
The list of the best 2021 print ads below may not be excessively long, as truly groundbreaking print ads will be hard to come by, but it still contains a mixture of some brilliant winning work from Annual 2021 and other excellent projects from the rest of the industry. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next print campaign or simply for a confirmation that print is still running, this round-up will prove it to you.
Here’s all the best print ads and campaigns from 2021!
Tomorrow Starts Tonight - Mother London
Britons aren’t famous for being champions of sleep. Always on the run, always looking for the next big thing, more than a third of the British population says they don’t sleep enough. Yet beauty products won’t make up for lack of sleep – and IKEA wanted to remind the nation that the more you sleep, the more you get out of life. In this genius twist on a print campaign, IKEA and Mother London used large-scale models mimicking fad products promising the same results as sleep, such as anti-ageing creams and energy drinks… with life-sized IKEA sleep products inside. This campaign is so brilliant it was awarded a nice Silver in The Annual 2021.
Return to Script Department - FCB New Zealand
Hollywood is often very kind with full-scale fires in buildings. According to films, people can just jump back in a smouldering palace to save kids, friends, family and even their dogs without really suffering many consequences. Unfortunately, that is all false – and in this brilliant campaign by FCB New Zealand, Fire Emergency New Zealand openly criticised the Hollywood version of house fires, by playing with the recognisable movie script format and filling it with comments and edits. When in doubt, just install working smoke alarms, please. And of course this campaign won a Bronze award in The Annual 2021!
Last Call - Featuring Design
Simple, straightforward, powerful. This campaign by National Park Rescue and Amsterdam-based Featuring Design was only released this month, but in its sheer simplicity it is easily one of the best campaigns of the year. The full series of ads sees a number of animals on the pathway to extinction, including elephants, rhinos and lions, with writings in white paint over their body. The writings go from simple call to actions to a barcode with an expiration date on an elephant, easily the most impactful one of the bunch.
Lung Cancer: See Through The Symptoms - Tag Collective Arts
Lung cancer is the UK’s 8th biggest cancer killer, and the 7th commonest cause of cancer death worldwide. In a campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms, Tag Collective Arts worked with Engine Creative and Rankin to tell the stories of nine patients diagnosed with IIIb or IV lung cancer – showing that you don’t have to be a smoker to go check your lungs regularly. A worthy winner of People’s Choice in The Annual 2021.
Strappare Lungo I Bordi Italian launch - Netflix
Zerocalcare is an Italian comic book artist who’s experienced some great success for his graphic novels in the Italian territory. Just recently, his first animated series, ‘Strappare Lungo I Bordi’, became available on Netflix and was supported by a large-scale launch campaign across the Italian territory. Netflix’s been known to always show a certain quirkiness when it comes to OOH and print campaigns, and this one is no different.
In no particular order, it features: walls of texts to “try and sell the animated series” while a stream of consciousness speaks directly to the reader; long dialogues between improbable characters; meta-ads breaking the fourth wall on the last page of a newsletter and other brilliant ideas which we could only find in a campaign from Netflix. Pure genius.