Left side advert image
Right side advert image
Super banner advert image
Subscribe to Print Monthly's RSS feed

Enter your email address here to sign up for our weekly newsletter

Taste For Success

Crossmedia and Interactive Print

Once regarded as a major challenge for the industry, digital technologies are now being used in combination with printed media to produce a host of creative applications. Here, we pay tribute to crossmedia work

Article picture

Talking Print says there has been an increase in demand for pieces such as audio cards

A Match Made in Heaven?

While it is true that digital technologies have taken some work away from printers, there is plenty of evidence to show that advancements in this sector are presenting print service providers (PSPs) with new and exciting opportunities.

Whether you are starting simple by adding QR codes to packaging for consumers to scan and access additional content or integrating moving and talking digital technology into printed work, the scope for collaboration between the two industries is varied and far-reaching.

Here, Print Monthly takes a look at recent advancements in crossmedia and picks out some of the more innovative and eye-catching collaborations that should offer plenty of food for thought to PSPs looking for new opportunities. 
Standing Out

Without crossing over into the digital world too much, PSPs can combine traditional print with electronics to create something unusual and eye-catching. An expert in this area is Talking Print, which, for a number of years, has been helping PSPs and brands in their quest to make products stand out.

Managing director, David Hyams, breaks this down as bringing print to life with sound and vision. He says: “We add video, audio, lights, and other technology to print. Every job we do is different, and it gives printers a way of adding different things to their printed work.

Every job we do is different and it gives printers a way of adding different things to their printed work

“At Talking Print, what we do is offer printers an extra feature for their portfolio. Clients these days are not looking for long runs; they are looking to add and offer different things than what the competitors do. Successful printers do provide different offerings such as additional finishes and specialist papers, and we are just part of that, giving clients different solutions for their own services.”

O Factoid: Talking Print has worked with a number of major clients on interactive print projects such as EMI Records, Budweiser, and the Metropolitan Police  O

Talking Print is perhaps best known for its video books, where a simple screen and audio modules are added to printed books to help bring the piece to life. Alongside this, Talking Print works with clients on pieces such as audio cards, such as novelty cards popular at Christmas and birthdays, as well as innovative packaging that features lights and audio.

“I love people to throw me curveballs,” Hyams says, adding: “I can do short and long runs. I did one run of two million not too long ago. We can do that as we have a good network and contacts in China. I don’t own a printing press and instead see myself more as a problem solver as to how I can help actual printers and brands achieve their goals.”

With this, Hyams picks out some of the more recent innovations from Talking Print to show what it can do. Last Christmas, Talking Print worked with EMI Records on a special project for Scottish singing sensation Lewis Capaldi. Around 1,000 printed audio cards were produced, each featuring a message from Capaldi wishing the recipient a happy Christmas, with the front of the card featuring the singer in a snowy scene wearing a Santa hat.

“This was only a simple greetings card but what it does is introduce a technology that has been around for a long time to a whole new audience that was not previously aware of this,” Hyams says, adding: “Projects like this will open their eyes to the technology and what it can offer across a range of markets and applications.

Other projects include a medical information audio book that was distributed across Africa. Recipients could press a number of buttons on the printed card to hear various messages about birth control and the options available to them in the local area.

Elsewhere, Talking Print worked with beer brand Budweiser to produce a printed box for an influencer campaign. When the consumer opened the box, a drinks can popped up from the middle, lights flicked on, and an audio message played, helping increase the effectiveness of the box and creating a more memorable experience for those who received a pack.

In addition, Talking Print has worked with the Metropolitan Police on a project designed to help young people who have gotten into trouble with the law. Juveniles are given an interactive book after they have been arrested to learn what they can do to change their path in life.

Flipping the Status Quo

Casting the net further into the digital world and there is certainly no shortage of examples of crossovers for print. Starting with smaller-format work and the classic printed QR code, confectionary giant Mars ran a special campaign this year on its M&M's product in the US.

The all-female packs celebrated women everywhere who are flipping the status quo, with the design of the limited-edition packs being turned upside down to promote this. Packs also featured one of Mars' newest M&M's character, Purple, featuring her not only on the packaging, but inside the packaging as well.

As for the crossmedia angle, QR codes were printed on the packs for consumers to scan and learn more about the campaign. Those who scanned the printed code were linked to a page where they could nominate women in their lives who are flipping the status quo. Nominees were in with a chance of being featured on M&M’s platforms and receiving monetary grants to help fund their ‘flip’. Winners were announced on International Women’s Day (March 8th).