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Mediahuis initiative helps small businesses survive during COVID-19 crisis

By Hans de Loore

Mediahuis nv

Antwerp, Belgium


During the first week of the COVID-19 quarantine, many of Belgium’s small businesses were forced to shut down for an unknown amount of time. The sudden isolation was a disaster for many, as not all have moved their business online yet and still rely mostly on face-to-face contact with their customers.

These small companies form Belgium’s economic fabric. When the quarantine is lifted, they are the ones who will have to kickstart the economic activity. They’re facing difficult times now and could use a little push in the back.

As communication specialist Mediahuis Advertising knows, it’s important to stay top of mind with clients, especially when you’re not one of the well-known strong and coveted brands yet. And we wanted to help out.

The Samen Impact campaign by Mediahuis spotlights small businesses in Belgium.
The Samen Impact campaign by Mediahuis spotlights small businesses in Belgium.

To make a meaningful contribution to the local economy during the pandemic, Mediahuis Belgium launched the campaign “Samen Impact” (“Let’s make impact together”) for the affected regional companies going through tough times. 

The news brand titles at Mediahuis had extra inventory because of the massive increase in readership during the crisis. Readers refer to trusted news brands for their daily information needs, bringing up daily readership by more than 50%. At the same time, we were confronted with a drop in paid advertising during the corona crisis, freeing up even more inventory.

Setting out to make a difference

Each week, as part of this campaign, Mediahuis Belgium donates 50 million impressions to small local companies. All they must do is upload their banner into our ad system and we will show their ad 100,000 times — targeted to the region they’re active in. Each week, one (big) brand can partner with us and co-promote this campaign. Next to the co-promoted ads, both will receive extra online and printed exposure.

We launched content platforms on every news site, where we published positive and inspiring stories of small companies bringing creative ideas to the market. It is all free and purely editorial driven.

The Samen Impact campaign has gained support from several bigger brands since being launched.
The Samen Impact campaign has gained support from several bigger brands since being launched.

More publishers joined us. IPM, Pebble Media, and Skynet opened their networks as well, donating free banner space to the local businesses.

Campaign delivers measurable results

The results were overwhelming. More than 1,200 companies signed up during the first weeks of the campaign. Two partners joined us in co-branding the campaign and ran it with us as Founding Fathers.  

The stories on the content platforms, which encouraged and inspired small companies to be creative in fighting this crisis and helped them reach out to their customers, were read about 30,000 times during the first weeks. By the end of this campaign, Mediahuis, IMP, Pebble Media and Skynet will have served about 100 million banners for the small businesses.

As media companies, we had the audience, the data, and the technical means to help these companies out. The free ad space helped them find new clients or promote their online services and survive these rough times.

Now is the time to act for us as publishers. Be direct. Be actionable. Help out.

Banner image by Dimitris Vetsikas and Free-Photos from Pixabay.

About Hans de Loore

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