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5 Examples of Print Advertising and Digital Marketing Integration Done Right

Let’s take a look at five notable integrated marketing campaigns that gave their advertisers a significant bang for the buck for brand awareness category.

The term “integrated marketing” has been in the nomenclature of the advertising community for more than three decades now. The original idea of integrated marketing was to blur the lines that separate creative, media, television, radio, and print. Then along came digital marketing. The definition of integrated marketing became a bit muddied, but true to it’s promise, the movement blurred the long-held barriers between different advertising media.

In 2015, just as always, advertisers want their message to resonate with as large of a target audience as possible. The modern holy grail of mass communication may well be the integrated campaign – a campaign where television, print, digital and radio all commence to create a reach and frequency of message that could never be accomplished in a single medium.

Let’s take a look at five notable integrated campaigns that certainly have given their advertisers a significant bang for the buck, at the very least in the brand awareness category.

Always #Likeagirl Campaign

Some products are more difficult to effectively advertise than others. Feminine products certainly fall into this category. When Leo Burnet’s client Always, one of the leading brands in feminine care, wanted to increase their brand awareness with a younger audience, the agency rose to the challenge.

As the advertising began its research, one data point stood out. Research showed that more than half of all women claimed the experienced a decline in confidence during puberty.

In the case study of the campaign released by Leo Burnet, Chief Creative Director Judy John said, “We explored different factors that influence girls during the vulnerable time of puberty. During this exploration, someone taped a piece of paper to the board that read ‘like a girl’. That’s all it said. Among all the ideas and pieces of paper in the room, we were instantly drawn to it,” John explains. “The idea was explained as: ‘like a girl’ has been around forever and is uses in derogatory ways, let’s change the meaning of it. From that day on we started to build on that idea.”

And thus, the #likeagirl campaign was born.

To execute the campaign, Burnet hired documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield to create a compelling film, depicting how teens viewed the phrase “Like a girl” by asking them to do things such as “run like a girl, throw like a girl, etc”. The teens, predictably, ran in what has traditionally been society’s notion of how a girl runs and throws.

Then the filmmaker asked younger girls to do the same things. The results were vastly different – with the younger girls all depicting confidence in doing things “like a girl”. The film ends with the tagline “Let’s make #likeagirl mean amazing things.”

The hashtag #likeagirl was released on YouTube in June 2014. A public relations campaign was launched simultaneously.

The global response to the campaign has been staggering. The YouTube film has been viewed more than 850,000,000+ times in 150+ countries. The hashtag was used countless times on Twitter and Facebook by users to communicate the brand’s message of confidence in young women. The brand also related the message in a large, multi-national/multi-lingual print campaign.  The campaign was one of most awarded campaigns in 2014.

Southwest Airlines Transfarency

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Southwest Airlines brand promise has always been one of low fares and high value. As the airline has grown, that message has been more difficult to convey as other airlines seek to create awareness for their brand amenities and creature comforts. In order to re-iterate the airline’s claim as best value in the skies, Southwest recently launched it’s new “Transfarency” campaign. The campaign uses television, radio, print, and digital assets to communicate their long-held value proposition.

The campaign, which was created by Austin’s GSD&M advertising agency also boasts a microsite designed by the digital agency Razorfish. The micro-site seeks to “expose” hidden airline fees charged by their competitors such as American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Delta, and more. There are also interactive components to the site that allow visitors to take a quiz called “fee or fake” where the site highlights fees charged by their competitors, complete with a dancing Southwest Airlines pilot.

The site also has a “Dear Southwest” Mad Libs-type feature, where users can choose pre-selected words in a “letter” to Southwest. The letter is complaint about how the user has been treated on other airlines. The last feature of the site is a “fee hacker” that purports to help users minimize fees when forced to fly an airline other than Southwest.

While numbers from this newly launched campaign are not available, it’s safe to say that the buzz the campaign has created on both Twitter and Facebook are positive signs. Currently, several Twitter users have already adopted the hashtag and promoting the airline of their own accord.

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK wants people to think about how a simple signature could help cure cancer. Their campaign, created by Atomic London, fuses television, print, and digital to get the word out that leaving money to cancer research in your will can help the future.

The campaign’s tent pole is a documentary style film, where everyday objects such as jungle gyms and lab equipment are made to look like signatures. This film is supported through print and digital ads.

Atomic London chose to highlight the ads through print, digital, and film to insure that a consistent message was distributed to the constituents that needed to hear it. The UK-based Cancer Research has declared this campaign a success.

But this isn’t the first success this group has had. According to it’s website, it’s “Be Clear on Cancer” campaign – which follows a similar road map to the signature campaign, has saved more than 1,000 people by convincing them to see a doctor if they have had a cough for more than three weeks.

DirecTV ads with Football Players

Many integrated campaigns are planned as multi-channel messages from the start. But sometimes the creative is so compelling that fans of the ad push the message forward with their own versions. The DirecTV “Alter Ego” campaigns is one where the creative is so good, the fans can’t wait to participate.

The campaign started in 2014 with Rob Lowe playing out two alter egos. A successful alter ego had DirecTV, the unsuccessful alter ego was a cable subscriber.

The campaign faced scrutiny by both Comcast and the Better Business Bureau for false advertising – and although the Rob Lowe campaign is no longer available, DirectTV has moved it’s target to far more fertile field of sports marketing, enlisting quarterbacks Tony Romo and Peyton Manning to sport their DirectTV/cable alter egos.

A quick search  of Google images for “Peyton Manning DirecTV” shows hundreds of fan created memes using the Alter Ego concept. It’s hard to visit a sports message board or a Football Fan Group on Facebook without seeing one of these fan created memes.

DirecTV says it has no plans to shelve the campaign despite threats from Comcast and the BBB. And it’s no wonder. According to a story in the Los Angeles times, DirecTV lost 28,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2014. The next quarter, when the ads started to run, the company gained 149,000 subscribers.

Nike Re2PECT

True sports legends are rare. But very few would argue that the former Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter is a rare sports legend. Jeter played 20 seasons for the Yankees and is credited as one of the reasons for the ball club’s enormous success in the late 90s and 2000s.

So what happens when a sports legend retires? In the past, there have been parades, standing ovations, commemorative items, and many other celebrations of the legends retirement. But there has never been a more far-reaching digital effort honoring a sports hero than the hashtag #R2SPECT, created by advertising agency Weiden+Kennedy for the Jordan (as in Michael Jordan) brand.

As with most integrated campaigns, the #R2SPECT campaign began with an inspiring video, depicting famous New Yorkers of all stripes tipping their hats to Jeter for his accomplishments with the Yankees. The campaign used television, print, outdoor, and, of course, digital media to spread the homage to the Yankee’s beloved shortstop in his final season of Major League Baseball.

According to Pixlee, the campaign reached more than 44 million unique individuals online and was trending on most social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The video inspired hundreds of fan created videos that were put on various social media platforms, thus pushing the campaign to true viral status.


In conclusion, in most cases, the sum of an integrated campaign gains more traction than its individual parts. Campaigns where digital, print, radio, television, and outdoor all work together do a better job of spreading the message than campaigns that only rely on one channel.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Shutterstock
Screenshot by Tony Wright. Taken October 2015.


I am a 19-year veteran of the digital marketing world with previous experience in journalism, public relations and advertising. I’ve ...

5 Examples of Print Advertising and Digital Marketing Integration Done Right

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