• D&AD Awards 2018
    Extended Deadline 28 Feb
  • Extended Deadline
  • 28 February
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THE PRINT A(ttention) D(eficit) SYNDROME

During her 25 year advertising career, "Chairmom" and CCO of Dentsu Jayme Syfu, Merlee Jayme has featured on CNN’s Leading Women 2015 and was named by Campaign brief Asia as one of their top 20 creative directors. As well as breaking the glass ceiling for women in this ‘mad men’s world’ she recently launched her first book “Everyone Can Be Creative”.

Ahead of her role as Press Advertising Jury President, Merlee dives into ‘what makes great work?’ and how to hold the consumer’s increasingly short attention span.
1195171 - Merlee Jayme

We used to say that it takes at least five seconds to read and fully appreciate a billboard. With a print ad, however, it can take forever.

That was way before digital came into the picture. With the speed of life and the noise of the world, well, people’s attention span just got a lot shorter.
Today the average attention a person gives a social post before the painful "scroll up”, is approximately two seconds. For a medium like print or press to survive the two-second-before-I-move-on-rule, the idea has to be worth everyone's few more crucial seconds.
Somehow, people don’t have the patience for cleverness, subtleties, or detailed art that they can’t appreciate on their 4.86 by 2.31 inches’ mobile screens.
They consume content 24/7 and at the same time contribute with their own blogs, vlogs and uploads. They even layout their own version of small “print ads” in the form of social posts.  Suddenly they love anything real and personal.
Therefore, to be able to grab their attention and to be relevant in a world filled with noisy content, our work has to be just as genuine and personal.
Back in my early days as a copywriter, I remembered my mentor insisting on writing copy as if you’re writing a letter to a friend. This way your tone of voice will be approachable and honest.
I guess this approach still works bigtime when I saw Burger King’s Whopper open letter to McDonald’s. (Not sure about the friend bit though)
One can argue about the lay-out, the font or the copy. But, reaching out and starting a controversial conversation to your frenemy is a social media behavior we see too often.

Burger King has done it in a much bigger and a braver way. Their open letter on a major daily has not only started a conversation that carried on to social media, it has also gained tremendous PR, and more importantly achieved a “what-seemed-impossible” action of partnering with competing brands. All for peace.

McWhopper / Yellow Pencil / Press Advertising / Press Advertising / 2016

Tweeting. It’s part of our “everyday verbs”. But can you imagine visualizing it on press? This campaign for Twitter has illustrated how stories developed in real time as people tweeted. Ignited with one personal post, acknowledged by credible networks.

First On Twitter
First On Twitter / Wood Pencil / Press Advertising / Press Advertising Campaigns / 2016
First On Twitter
First On Twitter / Wood Pencil / Press Advertising / Press Advertising Campaigns / 2016

Through the years, Dove has created emotional campaigns for women celebrating “Real beauty”. This has been borne out of a study in 10 different countries where it’s been discovered that only 2% of women interviewed considered themselves beautiful.

In social media- specifically on Instagram, the love for selfies reflects our love to be accepted. Sadly, this also opens to a lot of bullying opportunities. This behavior is shown in Dove’s latest print work. Here, reading the copy makes me feel this young woman’s pain of struggling to be desperately liked.  

Dove #findmebeautiful / Wood Pencil / Press Advertising / Press Advertising Campaigns / 2016

It seems that young people nowadays can’t stop from sharing almost everything in social networks. But the truth is, what they share is only what they want their hundreds of friends to see.

When they post “what’s on their mind” they only reveal maybe a 10th of what really is going on. Calling a hotline for support may not be new, but addressing an insight of human behavior online makes it fresh and compelling.

Shares / Wood Pencil / Press Advertising / Public Service Press Advertising / 2016

Press in D&AD this year have embraced the power of consumers’ digital behavior. Most have successfully merged both print and social media. Thankfully, without sacrificing relevant insights, beautiful writing and brilliant art direction.

Year after year, we’ve witnessed this supposedly dying medium evolve. For as long as we find ways to continuously grab attention in the age of distraction, I think press is here to stay.


If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.

For more creative inspiration and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the world’s best design and advertising, join us at D&AD Festival.

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