News brand creativity: Problem solved

Newsworks’ Creative Director Ben Wright takes a closer look at how news brand creativity provides brands with trusted solutions. 

What is creativity?

Not quite as deep as “what is the meaning of life?” or “why does the prime minister actually cut his hair like that?” but a tricky question none the less. 

What’s really interesting is that everyone has their own answer to this. People usually bundle it together with design and art – you know, the ‘creative’ stuff. This is completely understandable because not only do they sound very similar, they are so inextricably linked – especially in the world of advertising. There is a difference though and it’s an important one. 

Creativity is the solution to a problem. Design is the delivery.

So what are your problems? I’ll take a punt… you want to drive sales? Create meaningful engagement with your audience? Build/maintain/revitalise your brand?

Quite possibly all of the above. 

Having a multitude of ways to speak to your audience in a loyal and trusted environment makes hitting your goals easier – this is where news brands lead the way.

News brand audiences are truly unique

News brands have access to a quality audience in a genuinely safe and trusted environment, on a grand scale – 26 million people every day.

Yep, 26 million.

Every day. 

And it’s growing.

Readers are seeking to learn and be informed – it isn’t possible to passively consume a news brand. Unlike watching TV whilst doing your weekly food shop on your tablet or flicking through Facebook with the radio on. 

Brands want reach but not at the risk of safety

Now more than ever, brands want reach but not at the risk of safety; transparency of where their spend is actually going; and a quality, engaged audience. In the shady world of digital advertising, news brands provide creative solutions in a brand safe environment. This creativity is now being super-charged by The Ozone Project with its incredible reach - 99% of the UK adult population online.

Reach is always important but sometime, leading with a specific platform is key (especially when apologising!). For these occasions, you just can’t compete with the creativity that print news brands offer. It’s where Zuckerberg turned in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, O2 when they lost part of their network and of course when KFC had a FCKing nightmare with their chicken supplies. Then using the other channels, you can then amplify that message.

How Halfords made magic

When a brand uses all the news brand channels on offer, that’s when the magic really happens and one of my favourite examples of this is Halfords.

Last summer, Halfords wanted to inspire families across the UK to get outside and enjoy the summer – regardless of the weather! Reach Solutions creatively executed a campaign across all of their print and digital channels, creating an exceptional campaign that used a dedicated journalist to generate engaging editorial. An array of branded content was developed – from surviving the bank holiday break to advice on selecting the right bike. Plus useful tips for getting home to see England vs Belgium (it’s coming home anyone?) or new driving laws coming into play.

Its bespoke social media strategy reached 5m people and for the first time the Daily Mirror used its Instagram stories as another way of delivering this great content. 

The campaign finished with a glow in the dark cover-wrap of the Daily Mirror to promote cycle safety – the first of its kind!


Personally, Halfords is a perfect example of the true creativity within news brands and by creating genuinely useful and interesting content, the results naturally follow. 

The campaign reached more than 40% of the UK population and 20% said they had been directly inspired to go on a family day out. There was also a 24% increase in purchase consideration.

The main point is this - great opportunities are created when you embrace all of the creativity that news brands uniquely provide. For other brilliant examples of brands using news brand creativity check out our case studies library.

Ben Wright 29/10/19

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