One of the great advantages of newspaper ads is that brands can amplify their messages via clever contextual placement. We know newspapers offer an engaged environment. Lumen eye-tracking shows 75% of readers look at each print ad on average, while RAMetrics analysis reveals ad recall is 2.6 times higher for ads within print news brands than it is for ads appearing in digital news brands.

Print obviously packs a punch when it comes to capturing consumers’ undivided attention. In fact, 60% of newspaper readers do not consume any other media while reading the newspaper. For brands, this appetite for newspapers’ content presents a unique opportunity to maximise the impact of their campaign message.

Aligning an ad with what’s happening on the rest of the page can make for a clever, compelling campaign. Here are a few recent examples.

Paddy Power took advantage of the recent altercation following the Carabao Cup Final.
Paddy Power took advantage of the recent altercation following the Carabao Cup Final.

Paddy Power

The bookmaker is well known for its cheeky newspaper ads, and its latest print execution is no different. Following the Carabao Cup Final fall-out between Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and manager Maurizio Sarri, Paddy Power ran a pun-tastic ad next to coverage of the altercation in the following day’s Evening Standard.

David Sandall, head of brand at Paddy Power, said: “Reacting to live stories is key to the beauty of the Paddy Power brand and the Evening Standard offers us the perfect platform to do that. The Chelsea clown school story is all our punters are talking about so it’s right we sub our usual ad today with a more relevant execution.” 

An ad from Smirnoff called out inequality demonstrated during the 2019 BRIT awards.
An ad from Smirnoff called out inequality demonstrated during the 2019 BRIT awards.

Smirnoff

The day after the 2019 BRIT awards, Smirnoff took the opportunity to call out gender inequality in the music industry. Placing ads around coverage of the event, the brand gave its #equalisingmusic campaign a timely and relevant edge. One ad read: “About last night. 39 years of celebrating British music. 0 female Best Producers. 0 female Best Groups. Still some work to do.”

eBay

Teaming up with News UK and MediaCom, eBay aimed to show how its search terms are a cultural barometer for what’s going on in the news agenda. Newspapers allowed eBay to place itself at the heart of current culture with quick and nimble responses to daily news stories in The Times and The Sun. In The Sun, particularly, this approach allowed eBay to be quite “tongue in cheek” by, for example, running an advert for microphones next to the launch of the Spice Girls tour.

By aligning with current stories in a newsworthy context, these campaigns come across as relevant and engaged. They harness newspapers’ strengths — quick-turnaround times, interesting editorial content, engaged eyeballs — to maximise messaging to great effect.