Advertising is everywhere.

Which means tons of opportunities to buy all sorts of wacky things! 

But that also means more fatigue for everyone as we’re seeing the same ads over and over again. 

So how can brands and businesses ever stand out from each other without looking and sounding the same? 

Well, one key difference lies in the way advertising mediums are used. 

So why don’t we kick things off and look at the pros and cons in each of them? 

Print Advertising



Posters, Flyers and Brochures

Annual Reports

Packaging Design


Now, if you wanted to run an advertising campaign, how would you use them effectively? 

Well, let’s start by going over the pros and cons.


1) It’s Physical - Not everyone likes seeing digital advertisements. Some of them like to physically hold onto something and engage with it up close. 

While not every one of them goes through this same process, those who are interested will likely cherish this as a refreshing experience to do so. 

It’s effective in capturing your audiences’ attention much longer than your typical digital ads because of the fatigue we get from seeing the same things online everyday. 

Also, it doesn’t annoy them by bombarding unwanted advertisements which interrupts the process of engaging with your advertisements. 

2) It’s Cheap - Over the years, printing costs have fallen significantly due to the shift towards digital advertising. 

But the main driver in price reduction is all thanks to advanced printing equipment that operates more efficiently while driving down costs using digital files and tools to improve and speed up production.

3) Great for Local Geo-targeting - Before digital advertisements became the main medium, businesses used to rely on flyers, brochures and direct mail to engage with their local customers in the location they operate. 

Even now, businesses that only target local audiences will prefer this over digital as it is much easier to create awareness on their products, services, promotions and etc. than resorting to ranking for keywords online in their town, city, and even state.  


1) Limited Reach - Unlike digital advertisements, print can only go so far in terms of numbers. 

If you’re looking to go viral, print might not be your first choice as you’ll be missing out on a significant amount of people who might be interested in your business. 

2) Planning - Creating any advertisements takes time. But with print, there is an extra layer of technical knowledge needed to understand how to physically present your advertisements in the best possible light.  

They go along something like this:

  • What paper should you use? 
  • Which finishing suits it?
  • What are the sizes and measurements for them?

3) Wastage - Unless you’re printing on eco-friendly materials, chances are those physical advertisements will mostly end up as waste. 

If your target audience is especially sensitive to doing good for the environment, then you might need to consider alternative methods to get your print ads out.

4) Silence - While print excites the visuals (occasionally smell and touch as well), it doesn’t engage our ears in certain ads when its needed the most. 

Think about music and sound effects from commercials, or the tone of someone speaking which can influence how customers may feel towards certain advertisements.

Outdoor Advertising

Like print, outdoor advertisements (or better known as OOH a.k.a out-of-home) takes everything up a notch. 

This is done through:

Structural displays

Think billboards, booths, lifts etc.

Electrical displays

Vehicular displays

For instance, Cars, Vans, Trucks, Buses, Trains etc.

Experiential Advertising

A key difference between print and outdoor advertising is in the convenience for your target audience to catch those ads.   

In the former, customers can bring it anywhere they want because it’s portable. 

This allows them to look or read the ads at their own convenience. 

On the other hand, outdoor advertisements tend to stay fixed in a location for a period of time.

While not as portable, it makes up the difference by capturing the attention of those who pass by it. 

So what’s the good and bad of outdoor advertising?


1) High Traffic Targeting - Similarly to local geo-targeting, outdoor advertisements increases the intensity by placing advertisements in high traffic areas where a sheer amount of people are expected to reside, travel, or pass by in specific time periods.  

Some examples are:

  • Highways
  • Town Squares
  • Shopping Malls

2) Mass Awareness / Exposure - Whether your business is launching a new product or promotion, outdoor advertising is created with the intention of raising awareness of such business activities among consumers in an effective manner. 

Since it's likely to be placed in high traffic areas or in strategic locations of interest (i.e. where your customers usually shop), a significant amount of local (and foreign) customers will become aware and updated with the latest activities carried out by your business.    

If it falls within their interests, they’ll either visit you for a purchase in-stores or online. Furthermore, it’s great for increasing brand recognition as some consumers will use the same route several times a week within their daily routine.

3) Impulse Purchasing - When placed in strategic locations, outdoor advertisements can encourage customers to spend on impulse based on their current environment and condition.  

For instance: 

If you’ve been travelling for hours without food, and you happen to stumble upon a billboard for McDonalds as your stomach grumbles, you are likely to drive to that location to satisfy your hunger so you can continue on your trip. 

This method analyzes customers’ behavior as a result of their environment (driving on the road without food) and their current condition (feeling hungry) based on their lifestyle and daily routine.  


1) Untargeted - While high traffic areas are great for exposing ads to sheer volumes of consumers, that doesn’t mean people will necessarily be interested in your business. 

If you’re advertising a niche product compared to something general (i.e. fast food), people might be more interested in the latter because a majority of them are not your ideal target audience who have a need for skincare products or services. 

Essentially, high traffic areas include a mix of different target audiences who have different wants and needs for different products. This makes it hard to capture them unless your business appeals to everyone generally.

2) Maintenance - Outdoor advertisements look the best when they are maintained at their original condition. 

If your advertisements get damaged by either people or natural disaster, it will probably decrease the likelihood of consumers engaging with the ads. 

Part (or all) of the information can potentially be lost if that happens, which affects consumer experience and discourages them from buying your products or services.

3) Hard to Measure - Unless your business is fully physical and does not rely on digital advertisements, tracking where your customer traffic is coming from will become quite difficult. 

Are they purchasing this product because of the online advertisements? 
Are they here because of the promotion or because of the new product? 
Are the flyers the main reason for the increased sales? Or is it from other print ads instead? 

Tracking which location yields the best ROI from your ad spending on outdoor is challenging because it does not record the number of times it was seen, engage, or convert.

Other Offline Advertisements 

In this area, we’ll include traditional mediums that are neither print nor outdoor which are:



Similarly, you might be wondering if anyone still watches the TV or listens to the radio given that there are streaming services like Netflix and Spotify

The short answer is yes. 

Here are some articles that dive deep into the effectiveness of TV and radio advertising: 

TV Advertising Isn’t Dead - It’s Evolving

TV Advertising Effective, Relevant, and Worth It?

Are Radio Ads Still Worth It?

Digital Advertising

We live in a world where people and technology have become inseparable. 

Ever since its introduction, every industry has gone through a significant change because technology was involved. For better or worse, we have to embrace it (especially in advertising). 

By going online, businesses will be able to utilize several digital advertising mediums such as:

Social Media



Search Engines

Mobile Apps

While reaching a global audience and the convenience of uploading an ad is obvious for its benefits, digital advertising has more to offer than just that. 

Here are the pros and cons of it:


1) Measurable Metrics - Print and outdoor ads are great for awareness and brand recognition. 

But to re-emphasize the point, you don’t know if people are engaging with your brand. 


  • How many people engage with it? 
  • How long did they engage with it?
  • Was it a positive or negative experience?
  • What did they say about it?    

With digital advertising, you’ll have several tools to track the results of your ads online as it provides valuable insights into your customers as well as their reactions or behaviors towards your advertisements. 

Some digital mediums (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Google Analytics etc.) provide these tools to track the metrics which can help businesses understand if they need to double down on their investments or focus their efforts on something else.

2) Specific Audience Targeting - Alongside trackable metrics, the tools provided by digital mediums also allows brands to target their audience more specifically. 

You can customize your audience profile based on: 

  • Demographics - Age, Gender, Income, Education, Occupation, Social Status 
  • Geographics - Location, Population, Climate, Language 
  • Psychographics - Lifestyle, Interests, Beliefs, Values, Attitudes, Activities
  • Behavioural - Intent, Usage, Purchase, Benefits Sought, Occasion 

3) Customizable Advertisements - As technology continues to evolve, the number of ways you can create your digital ads increases too! 

Think of emerging new technologies such as VR, AR, 360 videos or even the ability to conduct A/B testing to see which ads engages your customers the most. 

This benefit provides businesses limitless opportunities to get creative with their advertisements, as they don’t have to stick to a rigid set of advertising rules to get their message across people. 


1) Content Overload - While digital mediums open up a world of possibilities for businesses, this feature essentially created an explosion of content everywhere.    

With everyone fighting for the customers’ attention, it’s obvious that they’ve developed a filter to sort through the vast amount of content that’s available as the majority of it does not appeal or attract the customers in any way. 

This effect leads to a phenomenon known as ‘visual pollution’, where you end up seeing (and hearing) the same things everywhere as you browse through your digital media online. 

Hence, standing out requires even more creativity and hard work from brands and businesses themselves.

2) Reputation at Risk - Going online provides users with the ability to be anonymous. While seemingly great, this can backfire the effects of digital advertisements in a number of ways. 

For example: 

  • Users can create fake accounts and leave negative reviews to damage the brand’s reputation. 
  • Those same accounts can increase your follower numbers to make your brand seem like spam or bot accounts to genuine people. 
  • They also affect your metrics and marketing data which prevents you from making accurate conclusions about the effectiveness of your ads. 

Furthermore, if your content isn’t done professionally, consumers will assume you’re a scam from the way your content is presented. 

This will undermine your brand’s credibility and trust among your consumers which may prompt some of them to even report you to have your business removed from the digital media. 

As compared to print and outdoor advertising, this mistake will likely remain online for an indefinite period of time as users will be able to obtain a copy of your ads through a variety of methods such as screenshots, sharing, emailing etc.

3) Technical Knowledge - Creating a digital ad isn’t the same as slapping on a few pictures and words together with an attractive pricing to lure customers. 

You need to have technical skills such as design, copywriting, marketing, SEO, web development, and other skills that involve creating a product online. 

What separates businesses from the legitimate and professional ones are these skills that were involved in creating the best advertisements for your brand, which not only presents your product or service in the best light, but differentiates it from the visual pollution online.   

Compared to a DIY approach, it will take months (or even years) because you need to make sure every aspect of your brand is accounted for to avoid consumers viewing you as just another scam or distrustful brand.

Advertising is everywhere, but only good advertising gets noticed. 

Yet, understanding advertising mediums alone isn’t enough to get your business noticed. 

After all, your main goal should be focusing on making your brand a customer favorite. 

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