Kleine Zeitung attracts new generation of readers through its “Dependent on independence” campaign

By Andrea Rachbauer

Kleine Zeitung

Graz, Styria, Austria

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According to the current assumption, newspapers must transfer their current business model into the digital world. However, this assumption is only valid when future readers are still interested in the idea and concept of a daily newspaper.

Like many other newspapers, Kleine Zeitung faces a situation where the product and brand is appreciated by our readers who have grown up in the world of traditional media, but it is getting harder to attract young people with our existing products — or with the newspaper genre at all.

According to recent media usage studies, young readers spend more than three hours using the internet and more than two hours listening to radio or watching TV per day. However, only a small fraction of them spend time — less than 10 minutes — reading the daily newspaper.

This is alarming because it represents the general loss of relevance of daily newspapers in this target group. 

How can we become relevant?

Kleine Zeitung wanted to target a younger audience and become a relevant brand for them. It found success with its "Dependent on independence" campaign.
Kleine Zeitung wanted to target a younger audience and become a relevant brand for them. It found success with its "Dependent on independence" campaign.

Everything we do to position the Kleine Zeitung brand to the younger target group should contribute to the content and the relevance of the Kleine Zeitung within this group. It must assume proactive thematic leadership in the relevant areas of life and convey content in a way that is attractive for the target group. And it must be transferred authentically in the digital world, which depends on choosing the relevant channels and formats.

Focusing on this background, we developed and implemented the Kleine Zeitung campaign, “Dependent on independence.” Since we live in an overloaded world of advertisement and information, we wanted to show that it’s becoming difficult to distinguish between transparent facts and fake news. So today we need credible journalism more than ever.

On the one hand, our campaign goals were to communicate the quality and competence of the newspaper: institutional independence and facts instead of fake news. We don’t write to please, we write to inform! On the other hand, we wanted to boost the interest of potential readers who could become new subscribers.

Raising awareness and sparking interest among young and urban audiences with quality journalism was also a campaign target. Finally, we wanted to bolster our existing subscribers by strengthening their decision to read our newspaper.

Taking a modern approach to messaging

We achieved these goals with the focus on a new and brave campaign colour scheme — modern, state of the art, and a little bit provocative. We used various media channels, our own campaign landing page (where users could network and interact), a complete pink newspaper edition, and pink illuminated buildings.

Pink editions of the newspaper created a striking accompaniment to buildings illuminated in pink as part of Kleine Zeitung's campaign.
Pink editions of the newspaper created a striking accompaniment to buildings illuminated in pink as part of Kleine Zeitung's campaign.

As a result of the campaign, we increased brand awareness among existing and potential readers. A statistical evaluation of the campaign showed the following results:

  • A comparison of the different age groups shows that young target audiences from 15 to 19 years recognised our communication campaigns (30%) more often than older target groups (approximately 21%) during the last weeks.
  • 15% of those who recognised ads could even remember a complete slogan from the campaign word by word.
  • Adverts in the printed newspaper Kleine Zeitung were the second most-named channel of communication (approximately 55%). Social media channels were in third place.

 The fresh, provocative design and content received a very positive echo in Austria and Germany, where one newspaper even reported about our campaign by printing campaign ads.

About Andrea Rachbauer