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Viral movie touting print catches eye of target audience: advertisers

06 August 2013 · By Max B. Brouns

“6 things you can miss while reading a newspaper” campaign from Belgium's Newspaperworks touts effectiveness of print and wins at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Prove, don’t promise” is the basic idea in all the communication of Newspaperswork, the Belgian newspaper publisher’s 1-year-old marketing platform. 

We have clearly established that the digital generation of marketers and advertisers can be convinced of the power of media only by solid proof and measurable results -- no longer by classical metrics such as average audience figures, and not even by verified circulation figures.

The illusion that in digital and social media “everything is measurable” and that advertising campaigns can be optimised by monitoring the audience’s behaviour and reaction induces more and more marketers to shift budgets from the (old) trusted newspapers to newly hyped media. 

In Belgium, newspaper sales and audience figures are certainly not bad at all:

  • Among the Belgian population, 50% (18+) read a newspaper every day.

  • The medium’s gross contacts have even grown by 11% during the last 10 years. 

These figures strongly argue in favour of maintaining trust in our medium and defending our 20% market share of the advertising market.

And yet, we have to admit that newspapers do suffer from the negative perception of being a declining medium and are far from sexy for media strategists. Print media are not attracting new creative forms of advertising or new advertisers.

Newspaperswork’s mission consists of pointing out both newspapers’ unique selling propositions and their contribution to media strategies. We prove the power of the medium to retain attention, activate the reader, and create word of mouth.

Since the best way to convince advertisers is by proof, we decided to confront them with their own behaviour as readers. We asked our agency, Duval Guillaume Modem, to make a viral movie.

For the movie, we selected three nominees for the “Advertiser Personality of the Year 2012” award, who were picked up at home in a Mercedes. We put some newspapers on the back seat and told our nominees that they were being filmed for the sake of a small Newspaperswork feature. 

The newspapers held their attention, utterly and completely, and the hilarious things they missed while reading their newspaper substantiate the strength of our medium.

This simple message was picked up by thousands of blogs, Web sites, and tweets, and created a buzz among the Belgian advertising community.  

The message was appreciated not only by advertisers, who were reminded of the power of newspapers, but also by creatives, and, to top it all, by the jury of the Cannes Lions’ festival. Indeed, the movie won a Silver Lion in the “Promotion of Media” category.

Next year, we are going for gold … with an astonishing print campaign.


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The Ideas Blog captures the practical discussions and case studies of news media company to grow revenue, audience, and brand. These case studies are written by INMA members for INMA members. Begun in December 2012, this content previously resided in Ideas Magazine; for an archive of past case studies, click here.


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