Print Advertisements: Are They Still Relevant?

3 Sep 2015

As a Fashion Management/Marketing student being up-to-date with current promotional strategies is important for me, so after reading an article on the Business of Fashion website which posed the question "is the purpose of a campaign now likes and shares rather than a lasting beautiful, printed image by a top photographer and an association with a respected title?" (Stoppard, 2015) I was inspired to write a blog post about whether or not I still believe print advertisements are relevant. 

With the rise of social media and fashion bloggers, it's true that getting the right person to star in your ad campaign or promote your product on their Instagram account is highly likely to boost brand awareness instantly due to mass sharing on the Internet, but does this mean that the gorgeous images we see when we flick through glossy magazines are no longer needed? 

As I highlighted in a previous post of mine, I still believe magazines are influential in the fashion industry but perhaps in a different way than they were years ago. Each month I become excited to get latest issue of my favourite fashion magazines and flick through the hundreds of pages of greatness and since studying fashion I find the advertisements even more appealing than before. However, what these advertisements don't do is urge me to go and purchase from the brand, like seeing their product online might. I simply just appreciate them from an aesthetic point of view - this doesn't mean that they aren't working effectively in a promotional way though. As a student, it is clear that I cannot afford to be purchasing from the majority of brands which advertise in high profile magazines but even so my awareness of the brand becomes increased and also the desirability of the brand. I mean, we can all appreciate an image which presents a lifestyle or persona that we can aspire to, even if it is unachievable for most.

So why would a digital ad campaign work better? Well, I personally think the main benefit would be reaching a wider audience than magazines do. Sharing a campaign online featuring a very current celebrity with millions of followers, e.g. Kendall Jenner for Estée Lauder, is definitely going to get talked about more than a print ad featuring a model unknown to those outside the fashion industry but for me it will have the same effect as a print campaign in the way that it still won't directly urge me to purchase the promoted product.

It's not that I don't believe ad campaigns are relevant, I think they definitely have a place in the industry, but today's style-confident, savvy consumer is more influenced by the opinions of peers rather than those of professionals. Chloé can publish their ad campaign representing their ideal consumer but we can look on fashion blogs and see who is actually purchasing from the brand in the real world and whether or not it's worth it to invest. I am far more likely to purchase a product that I've seen styled by a blogger, in a street style image, or on a friend than I am after seeing it in an ad campaign because the reality of it means it gives me a better idea of whether or not I will be able to incorporate it into my own wardrobe. Plus, a brand is obviously going to represent themselves in the best possible way whereas a peer is likely to give their honest experience about their product and experience.

I could go on forever but to conclude this post before it becomes super long, my answer is yes - I still think print advertisements are relevant as they make a brand seem more desirable and give them a certain amount of status due to appearing in a well-known publication but if used alongside a digital communication techniques it's likely that awareness will be increased much more. This means that brands should consider using a variety of promotional tools when coming up with a marketing strategy. I think that all ad campaigns (printed or not) have a different purpose nowadays too. Whereas in the past they may have been the only major source to promote brands or products and influence consumers to purchase, the Internet has now changed the way we can gain information, making ads less of a way to directly drive sales and more of a tool to represent brand personality. It's true what was said in the article I mentioned ad the start of this post - fashion is more accessible than ever and with consumer's who are more knowledgable and spend more time online, an Instagram post from a trusted icon is likely to be a bigger influencer towards purchase decisions than a page in fashion magazine.

Do you think print advertisements are still relevant?

Stoppard, L. (2015) A Picture Is Worth A Million Likes [online] Business of Fashion. Available from: [Accessed 2 Sept 2015] 


  1. I would think that a print ad would be more effective than other medias. While it's nice to have likes and shares and all of that, having one million Twitter followers doesn't necessarily represent the people buying the product. I feel like, when looking through a fashion magazine, the reader is open to products and brands and therefore more likely to buy those things. Online campaigns, in my opinion, might be more effective for getting the brand name to a broader audience, but at the end of the day, those involved enough in fashion to pick up magazines and see print ads are the same people who will buy the items they see.


    1. I totally get your point and definitely agree that Twitter followers or likers of an image doesn't represent who buys the product! It's really interesting to hear what influences other people more. As I said in my post, I like print ads and think they're relevant but I also like seeing how other people wear specific brands/what they have to say about them.

  2. I personally respond better to print advertisements and think they're definitely still relevant. This post was a really interesting read and very well written! XX

    The Fashion Road

  3. As a Creative Director I'm inspired by print magazines more than social media like Instagram and Facebook. Whilst a lot of my work is strictly online on my blog and instagram I am aspiring to work for a fashion publication. I strongly believe there is more value in a physical print than on social media.


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