From Tesco and Unilever’s Marmite bust-up to Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood’s, advertisers are never short of opportunities when it comes to placing tactical advertisements in newspapers’ news-filled pages.

When the headlines are dominated by a particular story, having a related ad in such close proximity makes an impact and garners attention. Here are some recent examples of great tactical ads, which fit seamlessly into the newspaper context:

Dr. Oetker played off the latest news from The Great British Bake-Off.
Dr. Oetker played off the latest news from The Great British Bake-Off.

Dr. Oetker: “The Great British break-off” was how The Sun headlined the news that Channel 4’s purchase of the Great British Bake-Off was breaking up the Paul Hollywood/Mary Berry double act. With the news inciting shock/rage/grief amoung Bake-Off fans up and down the country, Dr. Oetker’s timely newspaper ad read “Paul’s looking for a new Mary … Better get practicing.”

Norwegian Air published a simple advertisement that played off a recent Hollywood break-up.
Norwegian Air published a simple advertisement that played off a recent Hollywood break-up.

Norwegian Air: The division of another great duo shocked the world earlier this month, as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced their intention to divorce. The news, which resulted in a flurry of front-page newspaper stories as details emerged over a number of days, was met by a brilliant ad from Norwegian Airlines, advertising its one-way airfare to Los Angeles simply with the line “Brad is single.”

Asda: When a price row between Unilever and Tesco resulted in the removal of some brands from the supermarket’s shelves, it was the threat of a Marmite shortage that had people up in arms. “The great Marmite scam” was how the Daily Mail dubbed the affair, which was caused after Tesco objected to Unilever’s 10% price rises on a number of products, thanks to Brexit.

Some of the newspapers’ cartoonists made the most of the rift, with both The Times and The Daily Telegraph going with variations of “Maymite” across a jar emblazoned with the Prime Minister’s face. In the context of all this, Asda took the opportunity to run a straightforward ad declaring its position as a well-stocked purveyor of Marmite.

Magners responded when the latest iPhone was released.
Magners responded when the latest iPhone was released.

Magners: The launch of the new iPhone 7 resulted in a wave of phone ads in the newspapers on September 16, as providers jostled to catch the eye of tech enthusiasts. Yet it was Magners cider that stood out from the crowd with a witty pun: “One apple that’s never needed an update.”

All of these ads work so well because of the context they are in. Surrounded by the stories they reference, they take on a newsworthy edge and reach readers who are in the right mindset to instantly understand and appreciate the topicality.

Not only that, but they depict a brand as fresh, funny, and tuned-in to the rest of the world. As Maxus’ Alex Steer said at Newsworks’ Shift North conference earlier this month: “One of the things that news brands can do extremely well is very strongly associate a brand with a particular context.”