“It’s the computing power on the HP Inkjet Web Presses that allows this number of pages to come off the press in the right order, fully variable, [and in] four-color,” SCI’s Williams says.
ODS printed the 16-page insert first: 4.8 million total pages. Two weeks later, after the latest subscriber information had been compiled, data for the onsert was sent to SCI with just 48 hours to complete the job. SCI met the deadline with time to spare.
Finally, Brown bound the digitally printed signatures with the offset printed signatures, applied the onsert, inserted the mailing into a polybag, addressed, and mailed the November 2011 issue of Popular Mechanics. The concept of personalized advertising that bridged print and online media was put to the test. How would recipients respond?
The Popular Mechanics onsert generated a response rate of more than four percent, with 15,228 sweepstakes site visits—exceeding the typical one percent to two percent response rate for direct mail. Mobile platforms accounted for 39 percent of site visits, reports HP’s Sexton.Hearst was also able to track the response rate according to the 12 targeted metro regions, which allowed the company to see how different parts of the country responded to the messages. This level of tracking also creates the potential for publishers to alter Web content midstream to adjust for response demographics.
“HP technology allows us to offer another level of personal engagement, and we’re thrilled with the results we’ve seen from this first phase of the partnership,” says Michael Clinton, president, marketing and publishing director of Hearst Magazines. “It places a new premium on the value of print advertising.”
According to a custom VISTA survey administered by Affinity Research through PM, readers responded positively to the advertising approach, delivery method, and the HP-branded content. Seventy-four percent viewed HP as “innovative” for delivering a personalized message to them through the onsert, and 82 percent saw the insert as innovative. More than three-quarters of readers reported that they enjoyed reading the content, and two-thirds wanted to see more programs like this one in Popular Mechanics.
“Unlike more generic campaigns, this type of personalized advertising delivers specific metrics, so companies know what return they’re receiving on their campaign spend,” adds Chris Morgan, senior VP of HP’s Graphics Solutions Business.
The response from other publishers to the HP Innovation Ad Program has been overwhelmingly positive. “HP and Hearst took that leap of faith and we printed [the personalized advertisement] and put it in the magazine. Now everyone wants to know about it,” reports SCI’s Williams, whose digital print firm gets inquiries about the program nearly every day from publishers. He and ODS’s Lovelace see tremendous growth potential for print service providers who need high-volume data processing and printing.
“There are so many different applications that this can hit on that we’re all going to be busy trying to keep up with it,” Williams added.
That’s one reason why SCI has since upgraded its HP T300 Color Inkjet Web Press to a T350. ODS also installed an additional HP T400 at its one-year-old Texas facility.
“You don’t just want to be the person who prints,” Williams advises. “You want to be the one who does more. This was a prime opportunity for companies with a high level of sophistication to step up and show their talents and the power of HP inkjet technology.”
With this spring’s NBA Finals, looking at two inkjet web manufacturing giants on paper is like matching a pair of basketball powerhouses against each other. For fun, let’s call our game the Hewlett-Packard Hornets vs. the Kodak Bears (Kodak, Kodiak: Get it?) and pretend that their head coaches have very different approaches.