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Dutch campaign shows value of news by imagining life without it

03 September 2013 · By Erik Grimm

More than three dozen Dutch news brands have set out to prove their mettle with a re-branding campaign that highlights the value of news sources.

News media companies play an important role in our society, both on a personal level and for society as a whole.

But nowadays, public opinion underestimates the role of news media. They are perceived like the sun, something that’s there every morning but unappreciated.

A new campaign by 39 Dutch brands in all possible news media — including newspapers, Web sites, social media (online virals), and radio — set out to change this perception by persuading the Dutch public of the indispendable value of news.

Led by NDP Nieuwsmedia, the campaign has received a wide reception in the Dutch media. It will enable follow-up for specific target audiences, such as politicians (lobby), education (young readers), and advertisers, and encourage a better entrepreneurial climate and more appreciation from readers and advertisers.

The creative concept of the ads focuses on the importance of journalism. The creatives illustrate what we would miss if news media were not around.

The kickoff advertisement, for example, states: “This is what you would have known about Syria without news media.” This was followed by an empty space to symbolise how little that is.

The ad ends with a slogan that is hard to translate, something like “news media, preferred suppliers of knowledge.” You can find all the details of the campaign, including all creatives, online at

The recently launched campaign will last for two flights of five weeks each. In that period, three “empty” ads will be combined with a large creative, explaining the issue.

The campaign will have to profit from its own media, like almost all dailies (60% daily reach) and news sites (daily 50%) and is supported by radio commercials, online virals, and marketing PR.

The exceptional campaign depends heavily on advertising research, starting by testing the concept and tracking target audiences’ attitude.

The copy test showed that the advertisement with the white spot worked well for the general public. It was also a good opportunity for selecting suitable news items for the ad. Topics like the Euro crisis, Syria, and the Dutch pensions appealed to all respondents.

New tracking research will unfold the campaign’s visibility and determine if the attitude of the Dutch public has improved.

News media promotion organisation and knowledge centre Cebuco also is taking advantage of the campaign to conduct a cross-media study about the effectiveness of news media. This research will stress the impact of our portfolio and come up with lessons about the most favourable number of inserts and the most powerful combination of news media channels.

This way we should be able to profit from a better advertisers’ attitude toward news media and a more favourable reputation of our wide portfolio and our media’s effectiveness. The results of the campaign will be reported through the INMA’s touchpoints as soon as possible.

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The mission of the Media Research Blog is to highlight research done by newsmedia companies as an activity that should guide strategic and tactical decisions. At INMA we believe research is more vital than ever in understanding the complex calculus of audiences, advertising, and media platforms. To put it bluntly, we hope to inspire media researchers worldwide with this blog put together by the INMA Europe Research Committee.

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Irene Fogarty
Research Executive
The Irish Times
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Erik Grimm
Research Director
The Netherlands
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Ilse Peeters
Research Manager
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