Seven million Australians lack the basic reading and writing skills required to perform everyday activities in work and life, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In response to this worrying statistic, News Corp Australia decided to take action by calling on Australian families to pick up a book and help Raise a Reader.

To raise awareness of the literacy issue and address the challenge, News Corps Australia launched the Raise a Reader” campaign in February 2016 with the goal of sparking a national conversation about declining literacy standards, while encouraging parents and caregivers to take time out from their busy lives to read aloud to their children.

Our vision was to build a community movement, through editorial coverage and PR activity, that would galvanise parents, educators, government, and businesses to align for a common purpose: to build a smarter Australia.

The national Raise a Reader campaign formed the umbrella strategy to launch News Corp Australia’s February retail book offer to readers. The business objective was to increase print readership and engagement across our 11 participating metro and regional mastheads.

The Raise a Reader campaign by News Corp Australia offered parents and children a book purchase option for two weeks, aimed at increasing literacy.
The Raise a Reader campaign by News Corp Australia offered parents and children a book purchase option for two weeks, aimed at increasing literacy.

We partnered with Fusion Agency and HarperCollins to create a curated 14-book collection of classic Dr. Seuss books. Consumers could purchase a new book every day over the two-week campaign for A$2.60 each with the purchase of a News Corp metro or regional newspaper.

The reader offer was supported by a significant ATL and BTL marketing investment that included TV, POS, press, digital, PR, editorial, and social. We leveraged our editorial and PR connections to highlight Australia’s literacy challenge and to drive awareness of the issue pre- and post-campaign.

To amplify both the campaign and literacy issue, we partnered with curriculum-approved LiteracyPlanet, Australia’s most comprehensive and engaging online literacy programme. Through this partnership, we offered our readers a number of benefits such as discounts to educational resources and competitions, including a national online word game to “build the biggest word.”

This contest offered participants the chance to win A$10,000 cash towards school and education expenses. This innovative partnership inspired children, adults, and families to not only invest time in reading, but also in educational resources.

A curated selection of Dr. Seuss books was part of the Raise a Reader campaign to increase literacy in Australia.
A curated selection of Dr. Seuss books was part of the Raise a Reader campaign to increase literacy in Australia.

As part of the Raise A Reader campaign, News Corp Australia donated 10,000 children’s books to The Smith Family to distribute to families and schools and to Let’s Read, an early literacy initiative developed by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. We also signed Jackie French (Australian Children’s Laureate, 2015 Senior Australian of the Year ,and the author of more than 170 books) as the Raise A Reader ambassador to help bring the joys of reading to life.

Above all, as the No. 1 publishing brand in Australia, we wanted to act as an advocate on the issue of literacy, improve the reading and writing skills of all Australians, and help build a smarter Australia.

The campaign achieved some strong results:

  • An incredible A$1.2 million earned in PR and editorial coverage through non-News Corp media channels, including 958 media reports across TV and radio — a result that was 120% above target.
  • The campaign reached more than one in three Australians (based on results for the 12 months ending March 2016), and received support from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Based on these results we can confidently say Raise A Reader was on the top of everyone’s agenda.