Print WEDS Digital: How The Hindu Embraced Interactive Print Advertising (Case Study)

Did you think print and digital cannot make it work together? Check out this case study on how The Hindu bridged the gap between print and digital medium with interactive print ads through Print Play-an augmented reality add-on by WOWSOME.

Can print and digital advertising ever exist independently?

The proponents of digital advertising are quick to point out the flaws in print ads whereas traditional advertising mindset has its faith intact in print medium.

In the middle of this print vs digital debate, we often forget the main stakeholder for any advertising medium.


It is people who exist at the core of every advertising medium. Be it digital or print, you need to capture the  user’s attention and increase engagement with your target audience in the best way possible.

We, at WOWSOME, believe in the same philosophy and aspire to offer the best experiential marketing solutions to increase audience engagement with advertisements.

To combine print and digital mediums, WOWSOME implemented augmented reality to come up with an interactive print solution and partnered with The Hindu as a pilot project.

This case study will show how a leading newspaper in India adopted the augmented reality technology to overcome the drawbacks of traditional print without entirely abandoning it.

But, before that, let us have a look at why the traditional print medium is still relevant in the 21st century and needs to be incorporated with the digital.

Why Print Advertising

Advertisers around the world have time and again questioned the relevance of print medium for advertising in the digital era. Since the Gutenberg’s invention of printing press, print has been a prominent medium of advertisements.

Even after the invention of television and the radio, the print medium managed to retain its charm and print advertising continued to evolve.

Print advertisements come with a lot of benefits that are hard to replicate with other mediums:


Newspapers and magazines have always been a trusted source of information for people. In the era of fake news and spammy, intrusive digital advertisements, print ads offer credibility and trust among readers.


Print medium taps into the “haptic” memory or the touch memory of people leading to a greater connection and interaction with material.

In fact, the latest neuroscience research also shows that physical material is more real to the brain, involves more emotional processing, and leads to greater internalization of ads.


Better connection with print ads automatically leads to a better recall value and longevity of advertisements. This is very difficult to achieve in the digital medium where users are bombarded with loads of ads every minute.

However, having said that there is a reason why companies have been shifting to the digital road for the past few years now.

While print ads are usually static, boring, and mostly unattractive, digital ads can be delivered in a variety of ways. Moreover, as compared with print, they are inexpensive and can target a specific group of people.

But the most important reason why advertisers shift to digital is that they can measure the performance of digital ads and can optimize them in real-time based on data. This is one area where traditional print ads couldn’t compete with digital advertisements.

Use interactive advertising to enhance the reach of your business. Click here to know more.

Synergy of Print and Digital with The Hindu

At WOWSOME, we believe print and digital are just the mediums. What matters is the engagement of the target audience on all levels.

With the advent of technology like augmented reality, we need not choose one medium over other. Instead, we can get the benefits of both mediums through one.

We decided to test our idea and approached The Hindu, the second-most circulated English newspaper in India with an average qualifying sales of 1.21 million copies as of Jan–Jun 2017.

The idea was to use augmented reality to develop interactive print ads for The Hindu to increase the engagement of readers and offer a better ROI to advertisers of The Hindu.

The Hindu Print Play- Our Solution

WOWSOME came up with an augmented reality solution for print advertisements that proved to be a path-breaking evolution in interactive print.

Our objective was simple: To retain the experience of print ads with the power of digital content and measurable interactions.

Hence was born the concept of Print Play.

What is Print Play

Print Play is a mixed reality add-on that WOWSOME developed exclusively for The Hindu.

The add-on was integrated with their native mobile app by our technical team. Print Play unlocks digital content from print advertisements, thereby offering an interactive experience to readers.

 All one needs to do is to:

  • Open The Hindu Print Play feature
  • Scan the print ad in the newspaper
  • Experience Interactive Content

The interactive content can be anything, ranging from a motion video, slideshow to a full-scale television commercial. Advertisers have the complete freedom to choose any kind of immersive experience they want to offer to readers with these ads.

Why Print Play-The Perfect Marriage of Print and Digital

For a long time, marketers have often questioned the utility of print ads especially when it comes to measurement of their effectiveness and response of readers.

Interactive print ads by WOWSOME solve exactly this problem as they provide advertisers with the ability to measure the effectiveness of print ads.


More than the live digital content and visual experience, what makes these interactive ads so effective is the ability to add quick-links and Call-To-Action buttons.

So, advertisers can offer readers a chance to visit their website, try exclusive offers, follow them on social media channels, and so on.

Through these links and CTAs, we can easily track people who have interacted with these advertisements, WOWSOME offers a detailed analytics report so advertisers can track how many people viewed their advertisements, how long they watched, and how many people clicked on these ads.

So, you get the best of both worlds of digital and print advertisements- detailed insights from analytics associated with digital ads with the personalization of traditional print ads.

How Print Play Helped- WIN WIN for Everyone

Print Play add-on in The Hindu app has proved to be a boon not just for advertisers looking to attract readers and increase engagements. It has left an impact on a range of stakeholders and diverse teams and areas such as:


Unattractive and boring traditional print ads are now a thing of past. Through Print Play, readers enjoy features of digital on print and get an enhanced reading experience.

With relevant CTAs on interactive ads, they can quickly check out the website, chat with the advertiser directly or schedule a demo of product/service without separately searching for the service.

Digital Marketing

Instead of preferring one channel over another, Print Play allows traditional and digital work in tandem with each other.

Interactive print ads in the Hindu led to an increase in app downloads, better experience and reviews, and an overall increase in engagement on digital channels.

Print Sales

With an innovative product like Print Play, The Hindu advertisement team was able to get more leads and conversions for their ad sales. This directly impacted the diversity of their portfolio and revenues.


By being among early adopters of a new technology, the leadership not only got a boost in revenues but also has an innovative tech profile that makes them stand out in the industry.


Last but not the least, advertisers finally get to see returns on their print ads with Print Play through live analytics and tracking. Through better engagement with ads, advertisers can capture better quality leads and instantly establish communication with their target audience.

Through our print play campaigns for Yardley and Toyota Yaris, WOWSOME sent a traffic of nearly 2000 visitors and 2500+ visitors respectively to their main websites.

Most importantly, Print play ads achieved a Click-Through-Rate of more than 25% across campaigns for these three brands. This is nearly 5-10 times higher than the industry average of 2-5% in digital banner ads.

The adoption of augmented reality technology by The Hindu has not just led to an improvement in numbers and data for engagement. It proved to be a crucial transition point for a traditional news publishing house to move towards embracing a new culture of technology and innovation.

Beyond Clicks, Engagement, and ROI - Embracing A New Culture

WOWSOME Print Play has proved to be not just a reason for better return on print advertisements. The whole journey managed to break that initial resistance to new technology in an industry as old as newspaper publishing.

There is always a skepticism that comes with trying out an unfamiliar technology that has the potential to disrupt old methods of doing things. However, credit goes to the Hindu team that showed faith and an unprecedented amount of excitement towards the adoption of Print Play.

A novel product like Print Play involved everyone in the organisation and gave them a new product to talk about. Right from the advertising team, sales executives to the technology head and CEO, everyone came on board to experiment, execute, and engage with the interactive print technology.

Print Play became the new talking point and paved the way towards the adoption of augmented and mixed reality technology in a traditional news publishing industry.

With more than 700+ activations, Print Play for The Hindu has clearly emerged as the most successful WOWSOME solution so far.

However, it is just the beginning of the story as we continue to aspire towards integrating all marketing mediums with the power of storytelling through augmented and mixed reality.

Beyond Interactive Print

Our experience with The Hindu Print Play has fuelled our passion for augmented and mixed reality.

We have delivered more than 1600 interactive print ads with 700+ still active in Print Play. Furthermore, it has inspired us to continue experimenting with more experiential marketing solutions that go beyond interactive print.

Our interactive kiosks, for instance, give you an opportunity to add the magic of augmented reality to live events while engaging your audience and capturing new leads.

Check out how our experiential marketing solution for Royal Challengers Bangalore led to a better fan engagement.


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