Dan Pawych

Associate Creative Director,DDB Needham Worldwide, TorontoThe current newspaper campaign for car client Audi is harder hitting than most because it relies extensively on facts and figures, says Dan Pawych.Pawych says the International Motor Sports Association tested the Audi against seven of...

Associate Creative Director,

DDB Needham Worldwide, Toronto

The current newspaper campaign for car client Audi is harder hitting than most because it relies extensively on facts and figures, says Dan Pawych.

Pawych says the International Motor Sports Association tested the Audi against seven of the world’s finest cars.

‘The bottom line is Audi outperformed them all,’ he says. ‘We took this information, based on those results, and applied it in a very competitive way.’

The campaign, for which the signature is ‘control,’ uses headlines such as ‘Audi outaccelerates bmw,’ or ‘Audi outslaloms Lexus,’ and ‘Audi outbreaks Acura.’

Small spot drawings illustrate the tests. The copy provides details.

‘We’ve included a 1-800 number for people who are interested in the imsa test results,’ Pawych says. ‘We wanted people to really start reading the ads. The whole idea is to get them to the dealership to try the car.’

Q. Why did you choose newspapers for this campaign?

A. The competitive arena for the luxury car market is newspapers. bmw, Mercedes, they’re all in there. And newspaper provided us with a great opportunity to communicate technical details in a quick and effective manner.

Q. In your opinion, are newspapers underused for image advertising?

A. I think they are. But there’s a lot of limitations with newspapers. Newspapers have a one-day shelf-life. So it’s a hit-and-miss situation. If your message isn’t clear and impactful, too bad, you’ve missed it.

In magazines, you have a secondary audience, you can come back to an article three days later. If it’s laying around, more people are going to see it.

Q. Excluding your own work, what have been some of the best examples of image building in newspapers?

A. The best one I can think of was the Apple Macintosh. The reason for that is it’s technical, it requires a lot of information, a lot of detail about the product. And I think the details about the product build the image in the long run. It was a long-running campaign, and it had a lot of awareness.

Q. What qualities do successful newspaper image campaigns have in common?

A. Continuity. By that I mean the look, the tone, the feel of the ad, the visuals. And most important is the consistent presence, they are always there. Even if somebody doesn’t pick up the paper every day, there’s a constant presence, they are constantly getting the message across.

Q. What specific challenges does the medium present – what are its limitations?

A. I think creatively it’s definitely a challenge. The reproduction is sometimes questionable. I’ve had so many cases where the client calls back because there are bad ink runs, the screens are off, the paper stock is grainy.

On the Audi, we run a logo in newspaper that is flat, black and graphic, because of the reproduction. We want to guarantee that it’s going to run well. In magazines, we run it in 3-D form as a photograph.

Q. Do you think technological innovations, such as a new four-color process or more flexible layouts, would convince more advertising agencies to use newspapers for image building?

A. Definitely – 100%. I believe that the fewer restrictions you have, the more flexible you can be, which in turn means better work.

Q. Why is it that image advertising in newspapers is more prevalent in Britain and the United States than in Canada?

A. Television in Britain doesn’t have the presence that it does in North America. The British public relies more on print, meaning magazines and newspapers, and given that they have been doing that for so long, the reproduction and quality is fantastic.

The best example of that is the automotive market. You pick up a British newspaper or magazine, and there is no comparison between that and here. They use better-quality stock, and their reproduction is a lot better.

Same thing goes in the u.s. If you look at The New York Times, or USA Today, they have great reproduction.

In the u.s., newspaper publishers are a lot more flexible.

In The New York Times, I often notice very unusual media buys. They will allow you to do things there that they won’t allow you to do here.

In Canada, there are a lot more standards in terms of formats and sizes. For example, if we want to run something that spills over one column into another and zig zags across the page, nine out of 10 times they won’t allow you to do something like that because of the cost implications.

They’ll say it’s physically impossible because they have their layout format and you can’t really burst into that at all. Whereas, I’ve seen examples in the States where they really go all out and do it.

Q. From time to time it is suggested that one of the main reasons that a lot of creative directors don’t use newspapers for image advertising is because it’s harder to be creative in newspapers. What do you say to that?

A. People do use it, but it’s tougher to be creative because of the restrictions. They are not as flexible in terms of placements and positioning.

In my opinion, I think if a couple of these issues were turned around, newspapers would provide creative directors with a lot of opportunities to explore a lot of interesting avenues.

Q. What trends do you see in image advertising?

A. My feeling is that economics are going to put a lot of pressure on image building. Campaigns are going to need to be harder hitting and work faster and more effectively.

So, I believe that television and magazines are still going to dominate the market, as far as image building goes.

If newspapers change, there is a lot of opportunity for that medium to surface, far more than it is already.