NewsWorks is the trade body for the UK’s Newsbrands, representing The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph amongst others to the advertising and marketing industries. Their brief to Gravity Road was to argue for the power of print as an advertising medium in the face of advertising budgets shifting away from print media toward the duopoly of Facebook and Google.
Our starting hypothesis was that the younger generation of marketing clients and their media agencies had been seduced by numberwang and the promise of demonstrating effectiveness with neat, perfunctory metrics that validated their roles to sceptical Financial Directors - but were neglecting to give equal value to presenting their brands to audiences in an environment those audiences would trust. They had forgotten the value of context. Our creative challenge was therefore to change how print media was viewed.
Our creative approach was to draw attention to the questionable validity of an online news culture that undermines trust and erodes the power of context for brands. We achieved this with an idea that contrasted the reductive, superficial nature of emojis - and by extension the low quality wild-west context of digital programmatic media buys - with the power of Newsbrands to convey a subject with emotional depth and meaning.
The idea enabled NewsWorks to bring to life the quality of emotional connection that News brands elicit from their audiences, which lends a credibility and authority to the advertising brand - in contrast with the trivial, superficial language of online news culture, where trite emoji’s reflect the shallow limitations of emotionally connecting with a distracted, tuned-out scroller. Seen from this perspective, the campaign offered a timely reminder of the importance to advertisers of placing their brands in an environment that they - and their audiences - can trust.
The first impressive result was securing buy-in from all NewsBrands; The Sun, The Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph all allowed it to run without having to make any tonal or otherwise amends – testament to the belief and support in the message and the creative executions.
The second result was the response the campaign elicited amongst industry leaders upon breaking in national press titles, with many taking to social media to celebrate the campaign’s creative impact, such as Nick Baughan, CEO of Essence EMEA who, after the seeing the print ad, wrote: “right place, time and message”.
Lastly, the campaign scored well in a client-commissioned YouGov Tracker study;
• 74% of respondents who were aware of the ad agreed that the ads challenged perceptions that Newsbrands are less in touch with audiences than social media
• 93% of respondents who were aware of the ad agreed that Newsbrands give depth, richness and real emotion to stories
• 91% of respondents who were aware of the ad agreed it was distinctive and memorable advertising