Ads drive conversations with newsworthy context

By Jessie Sampson


London, United Kingdom

What do an ad for Heinz Salad Cream, Paddy Power’s latest World Cup execution, ŠKODA’s wrap of The Telegraph’s sport section, and Channel 4’s cover wrap of Metro all have in common? Aside from the fact they are all recent examples of interesting and engaging news brand ads, they all also capitalise on news brands’ newsworthy context to great effect.

Research by Lumen eye-tracking shows news brand ads (whether in print or online) command high levels of attention. In print, 75% of readers look at each newspaper ad on average and ads are viewed for 2.5 times longer than the avergae digital ad. Meanwhile, advertising on digital news brand sites is 80% more likely to be viewed than advertising on non-news brand sites.

Heinz played up its name change with a print advertisement.
Heinz played up its name change with a print advertisement.

In addition to tapping into this engagement, what the above brands do is harness news brands’ relevant context to make a timely statement and fuel conversation — whether it’s about the series everyone’s talking about or in response to breaking news.

Here are a few examples.

HeinzFollowing the announcement Heinz Salad Cream is set to be renamed Sandwich Cream after 104 years, Twitter went into overdrive with people experessing their (often heartfelt) views on the subject. In response, Heinz injected some levity into the situation with a clever newspaper ad giving its take. The fact the ad was full page also helps in the attention stakes, with RAMetrics data showing full-page ads are paid more attention, deemed easier to understand, more appealing, and more likley to prompt action.

Channel 4Coinciding with the UK launch of the second season of the Handmaid’s Tale, Channel 4 ran a dystopian-themed cover wrap on Metro to create intrigue and build anticipation. The wrap, which wasn’t branded on the outside, simply stated “Women are not allowed to read this newspaper” on the front and “Reading confuses the female mind” on the reverse of the newspaper. The inside front page revealed what the ad was for. The stark statement is a brilliant example of how a news brand ad can go beyond promoting a product to tie in with wider cultural conversations.

Paddy PowerWith the World Cup comes many ads, but Paddy Power stands out from the crowd with a timely, contextual offering. Tying together the World Cup and the fact June is the month of Pride, the betting company ran ads stating “From Russia with equal love,” informing readers that for every goal Russia scores, Paddy Power will donate £10,000 to LGBT+ causes. Not only does the ad tap into two very topical subjects, but it also scored spot-on contextual placement in the Daily Mirror.

ŠKODA continues the conversation of the role women play in cycling.
ŠKODA continues the conversation of the role women play in cycling.

ŠKODAIn the context of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements — both of which have played out in the press — women’s positions across a number of industries has come under the spotlight in recent months. Picking up on a similar theme, ŠKODA’s #ThisIsOurTime campaign with the Telegraph highlights the role of women in cycling. Activity includes a wrap of the Telegraph’s sports section, which, when folded, reads “Female cyclists can’t keep up.” But open up the back page and the message changes: “Some people still think that female cyclists can’t keep up.”

As ŠKODA put it, the brand — which has been the official partner of the Tour de France since 2004 — is “dedicated to giving female cyclists the recognition they deserve, to help close the gender pay gap, one cyclist at a time.” The partnership is a great example of how to both deliver a serious message in a newsworthy context and grab readers’ attention via interesting creative.

About Jessie Sampson

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