Creating emotion in a digital world with programmatic print

The Problem

Canon want brands to fall in love with print again. The aim of this campaign was to show how print can drive emotional responses from consumers and how it can be integrated effectively into the new multi-channel marketing mix.

Canon sought to dispel myths around print as a traditional media, including its cost and complexity. At the same time demonstrating how Canon's programmatic print technology can deliver direct, personalized and relevant communications for consumers.

Problem Solved

The Drum looked beyond traditional marketing tactics to achieve this challenge. We took inspiration from the recent events in the world around us, and reflected on how the pandemic had significantly affected graduating art students. An idea was born – to build a case study around the value of programmatic print, that helped this potentially forgotten generation. The Drum designed and built an online hub where students could showcase their work – a virtual end of year showcase. Then, via a mixed media marketing campaign - involving programmatic print and bespoke printed assets, we invited creatives within the industry to attend the virtual exhibition and interact with the students work. The project, entitled the ‘Class of 2021’ was promoted via a campaign comprised of editorial coverage, email marketing, digital advertising and event activations. The process was captured in 2 mini documentary style videos, and a summary report.



creatives registered for exhibition


students registered work


personalised print postcards


views on video content


digital advertising impressions


emails sent to promote Canon event


downloads of summary report


engagement rate with print

“We enjoyed working with The Drum on this project. Their creative and professional style coupled with strong teamwork expanded the reach of the project and helped us to achieve our goals. We look forward to working with them again.”

Walter Young, marketing program manager, Canon Europe

Through this partnership we proved...

  • Higher engagement uplift via an omnichannel approach involving print
  • Emotional connection triggered by print marketing
  • Greater depth of engagement via print
  • Purpose-led actions through print-led activation

“Having something physical always feels more valuable. Print still catches people off-guard. When you see interesting-looking print, you do tend to read it. There will always be opportunities to still make an impact through print”

Emma Bentley, Class of 2021 student

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