Setting the news agenda with stand-out ads

What can brands achieve by using the impact of print to tap into topical discourse or by capitalising on newsbrands’ storytelling abilities? Newsworks' communications manager Jessie Sampson takes a look. 

Following 2017's brand safety revelations, the role that environment plays in ad campaigns continued to grab attention throughout 2018. However, rather than just ensuring the basics – i.e. that ads are viewable and in brand safe environments – there has been a renewed focus on the numerous additional benefits of factoring context into campaign planning. With research showing that newsbrands' context has a positive impact across a range of brand measures – from attention paid to memorability and, ultimately, profit – they are a powerful option for brands looking to reach a large, highly engaged audience of 24 million people per day.

Among the ads that have stood out in the past year are those which have capitalised on newsbrands' role in setting the news agenda each day. These advertisers have harnessed the power of the press to either change the conversation around a brand, make a campaign headline news or incite debate. Here are some of 2018's best, drawn from the winners of the 2018 Newsworks Planning Awards

There's no way you will have made it through last year without seeing this Cannes Lions winning ad. The fact that it was still being talked about in December (particularly as media journalists assembled their best ads of the year) is testament to both the power of a simple message and the weight print has in delivering impact. This ad is proof that, in a world of information overload, putting something down on paper can garner huge attention – both on and offline.

Channel 4
It's probably fair to say that season two of The Handmaid's Tale was among the most hotly-anticipated TV releases of 2018; something Channel 4 maximised via a brilliant Metro cover wrap. What better way to stop commuters in their tracks than printing a hugely inflammatory message on the front of the morning paper? By adopting the voice of Gilead and proclaiming 'Women are not allowed to read this paper. Reading confuses the female mind', the ad shocked, intrigued and ultimately drove conversation. The fact that it coincided with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements made the activity all the more relevant.

Cancer Research UK
By embarking on a month-long editorial partnership with Reach Solutions (then Trinity Mirror), Cancer Research UK ensured that its 'good news' campaign grabbed headlines. Activity included a full-page editor's letter by Lloyd Embley launching the initiative; takeovers of regular pages such as 'Dr Miriam Stoppard' and 'Dear Coleen'; and use of the Mirror's first-party data analysis tool to identify good news stories surging on the homepage and socially, so that CRUK's content could be placed at the heart of them – generating 3.9 million page views. The work is a first-class example of how collaboration between advertisers, publishers and agencies can result in tailored, relevant campaigns for readers.  

To re-engage people, men's health foundation Movember partnered with News UK and Sky for a complex content partnership, centred on the idea of 'FOMOVEMBER' – a life you'd miss out on if you died too young. With such a powerful message, activity harnessed newsbrands' editorial expertise and cross-platform formats to put the charity front and centre in people's minds. The collaboration led to a 16% increase in fundraising, 67% rise in new sign-ups and a 50% leap in people understanding that Movember encourages men to take better care of their health.

These campaigns show what can be achieved when brands use the impact of print to tap into topical discourse or capitalise on newsbrands' storytelling abilities to set the news agenda. You can read more about the entries in Newsworks' gallery of Planning Award winners.

The piece was first published by INMA

These advertisers have harnessed the power of the press to either change the conversation around a brand, make a campaign headline news or incite debate.

Jessie Sampson, communications manager, Newsworks
by Jessie Sampson 03/01/19

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