News & events

News brands wrapped

Newsworks’ Creative Designer Mark Lukas gives us the run down on his top 10 news brand ads for 2019.

With the year coming to an end, it’s certainly been a bit of a rollercoaster - from the election to the Cricket World Cup and from vegan sausage rolls to the collapse of Thomas Cook. Great news brand ads often reflect what’s happening in society and 2019 has produced some corkers! 

Here are my top 10 #Adofthedays from 2019. 

10) ‘Complaints Welcome’ – Channel 4

 Downloadable - Channel 4 Print Ad

Channel 4 often publishes some really great ads, ranging from humorous, to powerful, to downright scary. Channel 4 uses its somewhat punchy complaints and heroes them, resulting in a brilliantly funny ad. It’s a great example of using negative feedback and putting a positive spin on things in a tongue in cheek way.

9) ‘Express yourself with colour’ – Valspar

Downloadable - Valspar print ad

I’d never actually heard of Valspar until I saw this cover wrap of the Evening Standard. Who would have thought Boris Johnson be such an interior design inspiration? Taking a hotly discussed subject and making it work to your advantage in a completely non-related industry is so inspiring. 

8) ‘We are not an island’ – HSBC


Much like Brexit, HSBC’s mega-campaign has been a constant presence in news brands over 2019. It’s great rhetoric about how – despite our differences and varying opinions – everybody has something valuable to contribute and be proud of in such divisive times. It’s simple, eye-catching and terrifically written.

7) International Women’s Day – Bumble

In 2017 we saw Bumble expand its dating and social networking features to go after the likes of LinkedIn. It may have raised a few eyebrows at the time, but they certainly haven’t been quiet about it. This campaign was timed around International Women’s Day this year and shared a series of powerful female portraits with the words “she is now impossible to ignore” emblazoned over them. They also shared some really interesting stats about ground-breaking legislation changes, further closing the gender pay gap. This is a great example of taking an important issue and using it to raise awareness.

6) Guardian Soulmates – The Guardian


Guardian Soulmates reminded us that dating in the digital age needn’t all be unsolicited ‘veg-pics’. With a couple of wonderfully understated yet thoughtfully crafted ads appealing to the more discerning dating candidates, this is a great example of using simple creative to make your brand stand out. Baba ghanoush anyone?

5) ‘Thank You’ – Iceland and Blue Light card

Downloadable - Iceland print ad

While this may not be as visually ‘creative’ as some of the other top 10s, Iceland’s ad is exemplary of how utilising news brands can make the work a slightly better place. We’re all staunchly aware of how tough a time our emergency services are having, so it was great to see Iceland teaming up with Blue Light Card, to give 20% off Iceland products for a whole week in October.

4) ‘Hard Breakfast vs Soft Breakfast’ – Marmite

Downloadable - Marmite print ad

This is another great example of taking current events and making the subject matter work to your advantage. Marmite has long been a divisive condiment, and it didn’t take long for them to start using the love/hate debate in its campaigns – it seemed fitting to allude to the parallels between the Brexit deal debate alongside the Marmite question. And who doesn’t love a pun, eh?

3) ‘Golden Toilets’ – Domestos


This was an excellently prompt response to this year’s somewhat ludicrous story about a stolen, solid-gold toilet. Taking care to ensure this full-page ad was placed next to the story in the Daily Mirror, the team behind it saw the opportunity to make the subject fit with the product and cause a few laughs at the same time.

2) #WhereYouShopMatters – Visa

Downloadable - Visa Print Ad

Last month, Visa boldly booked up all of the ad-space, across every Guardian platform for a whole day. Each bit of creative championed local businesses around the UK in the run-up to Christmas. Not only is this a great example of how we should support local businesses, it also shows just how that message can be amplified using multiple channels. 

1)  Guys, We’re Flattered – KFC

 Downloadable - KFC newspaper ad

KFC have been on a roll over the past few years, going so far as to win multiple awards (including one of ours) for ‘The Great Chicken Crisis’ in 2018. This ad is another personal favourite of mine, collectively picturing dozens of independent fried chicken outlets with suspiciously similar branding to the Colonel’s, paired with a cheeky tag line. It highlights just how iconic the brand is. I bet there were a lot of creatives having a “I wish I’d thought of that” moment. Genius.


Have a great Christmas everyone - See you in 2020!

Mark Lukas 12/12/19

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