In a digital world, print is having a hard time of it. Just ask the newspaper industry how the printed word is stacking up against the immediacy of the Internet and you’re likely to find your head on the receiving end of a rolled up copy of The Times. This downturn obviously has a major effect on print advertising, which fell by 14.1% in the fourth quarter of 2009 in the UK.
However, print is far from dead. Brands are now harnessing the tangible nature of print and applying it to the real world.
Last year Nike created the ‘Nike ChalkBot’ – a steam-punk style robotic street printer - in order to promote simple messages of “hope, perseverance and love” during the Tour De France. The Chalkbot robot printed messages of inspiration from visitors to the Livestrong website along the 2,200-mile cycle route, then took photos of the messages and sent them back to the user as a digital gallery. Testament to its innovation the campaign picked up an award in the cyber lions category at the Cannes International Advertising Festival
Another less mechanical version of this ‘print in reality’ concept - which is also people-powered , albeit at a far slower pace - is the Sand-Printer, a large tubular device that prints large messages into the sand. The concept was designed in Spain in order to draw attention to freedom of the press rights. However, the device could easily be utilised to engage a new style of charitable walk with a branded message attached.