NewsMediaWorks campaign reinforces consumer trust in news media advertising

By Peter Miller

NewsMediaWorks Australia

Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia


NewsMediaWorks is the peak organisation representing Australia’s major news media publishers: News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media (Now Nine Entertainment Co.), as well as Seven West Media, Guardian Australia, and The Saturday Paper.

In 2017, NewsMediaWorks commissioned a consumer study into advertising trust. Insights gained from this study led to an Australian marketing initiative that has drawn the wholehearted support of the country’s leading news media publishers.

The study revealed with startling clarity that users of the media:

  • Trusted the content and the advertising in newspapers over all other media.
  • Trusted the content and advertising in digital news media over all forms of digital media.
  • Trusted social media least of all by a wide margin.
  • Younger readers were more pronounced in their high trust in content and advertising in newspapers and news Web sites, and equally pronounced in their distrust of both content and advertising on social media.   

Following the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, we commissioned Galaxy research to repeat the study. Unsurprisingly, trust in news media soared, while confidence in social media crashed to a new low. This second study found that only 14% of respondents agreed with the statement: “I trust the information provided in advertising in Facebook.”

Yes, that’s right, a mere 14% trust Facebook.

We presented the full Adtrust findings to every news media sales team in Australia, inviting the publishers to incorporate them into their already potent sales narratives. The second-wave findings received wide coverage in the trade and business press.

Aimed primarily at advertisers, "The Truth Builds Trust" campaign emphasised the value of placing an ad alongside credible journalism.
Aimed primarily at advertisers, "The Truth Builds Trust" campaign emphasised the value of placing an ad alongside credible journalism.

We were emboldened by the number of great conversations on the topic of Adtrust and turned our mind to a powerful weapon we had at our disposal beyond the reach of our competitors: a big advertising campaign in our member-owned newspapers and digital news media.

There are many ways to find a creative partner for a media campaign, and we chose to do it the old-fashioned way. We called up one of the sharpest strategic thinkers in the land, invited him to tea, and told him what we wanted: a striking, beautifully written, stunningly art directed campaign that would run in every newspaper and on every news Web site in Australia.

Importantly, the campaign KPI was to increase consideration of newspapers and news Web sites by Australia’s Top 200 advertisers, and the creative had to satisfy the instincts of three CMOs, three CEOs, and every editor in Australia.

Simple, really.

Our man, Adam Ferrier of agency Thinkerbell, obviously loves a challenge and set his team to work producing several promising creative directions. After a few cycles around our marketing stakeholders, we landed on “The Truth Builds Trust,” which stands on a simple proposition: “They say the company you keep defines you. If you surround yourself with the truth, you in turn will be trusted. As Australia’s most trusted news media, we’re the ideal place for brands to be seen and be believed. The truth builds trust.”

The campaign ran for five weeks in every national and metropolitan newspaper and news site, as well as in most community and regional titles from mid-October to late November, receiving editorial support in the advertising trade press.

Of greater importance, it has drawn heavy traffic to our Web site, with 35,000 unique visitors to date wanting to find out more. INMA members can be assured we will keep fighting for the value and importance of professional journalism and the advertising effectiveness of authentic news media.

About Peter Miller

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