Can print advertisements be a conversation starter?

Do print ads kick-start conversations?

Do you find it difficult to have a meaningful and memorable conversation with existing and new customers? Leaflets, Brochures and posters are a direct and distinct way of promoting your business and what you’re all about. More importantly, it’s a way of starting a conversation which could lead to great things!

Is being controversial effective?

One approach being used by a number of companies advertising on the London underground is to be completely direct, or even rude. These ads are conversation starters. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites, and explained what makes them so effective in this article.

print design


To kick things off, we’ll be looking at this print advert from Las Vegas. Slightly provocative, right? Haven’t you realised it’s always the ads that are controversial or make irrational statements that get people talking?

print design

Next up is this advertisement by War Production Coordinating Committee published by J. Howard Miller in 1943. This poster has become one of the most famous icons of World War II and it’s easy to see why! Women had a certain place in society and this poster helped challenge that position. As women were encouraged to take wartime jobs in defence industries, they became a celebrated symbol of female patriotism. At the time, women had a certain place in society – this poster challenged that perspective.


print design

Lastly is this advertisement, which was doing the rounds in 1969, was for the Family Planning Association. Attention grabbing huh? We thought so. Rhetorical questions always go down well. Although they’re not meant to be answered, they get the reader thinking, whether it is just thinking about something, or hopefully coming to a realisation, they are very important. The image itself is of course the hero – when something looks “wrong” and contradicts the norm, your audience will take a second look.


Do you think controversial print advertisements like this work or do you think they cause more trouble than they’re worth? We’d love to hear your thoughts over on Twitter!