Clever use of context stands out in print

From Smirnoff to Paddy Power to eBay, Newsworks' Communications Manager Jessie Sampson takes a look at how advertisers are capitalising on newspapers' quick-turnaround times, interesting editorial and engaged eyeballs. 

One of the great advantages of newspaper ads is that brands can amplify their message via clever contextual placement. We know that newspapers offer an engaged environment. Lumen eye-tracking shows that 75% of readers look at each print ad on average, while RAMetrics analysis reveals that ad recall is 2.6 times higher for ads within print newsbrands than it is for ads appearing in digital newsbrands.

Print obviously packs a punch when it comes to capturing consumers' undivided attention. In fact, 60% of newspaper readers do not consume any other media while reading the paper. For brands, this appetite for newspapers’ content presents a unique opportunity to maximise the impact of their campaign message. Aligning an ad with what's happening on the rest of the page can make for a clever, compelling campaign. For example:

Paddy Power

The bookmaker is well known for its cheeky newspaper ads and its latest print execution is no different. Following the Carabao Cup Final fall-out between Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and manager Maurizio Sarri, Paddy Power ran a pun-tastic ad next to coverage of the altercation in the following day's Evening Standard.

David Sandall, Head of Brand at Paddy Power, said: "Reacting to live stories is key to the beauty of the Paddy Power brand and the Evening Standard offers us the perfect platform to do that. The Chelsea clown school story is all our punters are talking about so it’s right we sub our usual ad today with a more relevant execution."


The day after the 2019 BRIT awards, Smirnoff took the opportunity to call out gender inequality in the music industry. Placing ads around coverage of the event, the brand gave its #equalisingmusic campaign a timely and relevant edge. One ad read: "About last night. 39 years of celebrating British music. 0 female Best Producers. 0 female Best Groups. Still some work to do."


Teaming up with News UK and MediaCom, eBay aimed to show how its search terms are a cultural barometer for what's going on in the news agenda. Newspapers allowed eBay to place itself at the heart of current culture with quick and nimble response to daily news stories in The Times and The Sun. In The Sun, particularly, this approach allowed eBay to be quite 'tongue in cheek', for example, running an advert for microphones next to the launch of the Spice Girls tour.

The campaign proved very effective at increasing consideration, with target audience readers who recalled all aspects of the campaign being significantly more likely to consider eBay in the future (+118% uplift vs non readers). It also prompted action, with 49% of respondents claiming to have visited the eBay website and 34% making a purchase.

By aligning with current stories in a newsworthy context, these campaigns come across as relevant and engaged. They harness newspapers' strengths – quick-turnaround times, interesting editorial, engaged eyeballs – to maximise their messaging to great effect.

A version of this blog was first published by INMA

Aligning an ad with what's happening on the rest of the page can make for a clever, compelling campaign.

Jessie Sampson, Communications Manager Newsworks
by Jessie Sampson 04/04/19

Want the latest news, opinion and insight on newsbrands?
Sign up and we'll send you a weekly update.

Sign up here

Get in touch

3rd Floor
3 Marshalsea Road

0203 949 7470


Keep up to date

Please take a minute to answer a few questions on our new website. The feedback you provide will help us make the website easier for you to navigate and ensure you can find the content you’re after. In addition, we’ll enter you in to a prize draw for a £100 Amazon voucher*.

Take Survey Not now Never