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UK brands offer hope, resilience in a changing world

By Lewis Boulton

Newsworks

London, United Kingdom

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After five years of seemingly incessant instability, it’s becoming tiring to describe our times as “uncertain.” With Brexit and a pandemic taking up all the air in the room, memories of quieter times in British public conversation are a little hazy. But even as we (hopefully) begin to put lockdown experiences behind us, a series of events has prolonged the sense of unease.

A gas price shock is set to send energy bills spiralling. Petrol stations ran low on fuel stocks as companies struggled to deliver supplies and motorists rushed to fill up. An outage at Facebook showed society’s reliance on social media, while a company whistleblower started conversations on disinformation damaging public trust. A climate crisis, growing in destructiveness, threatens Earth’s civilisations on an existential level.

Readers need guidance, inspiration, and support to navigate these times. Increasingly, over the past few weeks, news brands have been an important strategic medium for organisations to speak directly to readers and powerbrokers in trusted, quality environments. A trend that gathered pace at the start of the pandemic is continuing into our post-lockdown world.

Here are some of the most impactful long-form creative campaigns from the past month.

Climate Coalition

Much has been made of prime minister Boris Johnson’s mission to leave a legacy, something the Climate Coalition uses to great effect. Representing countless top organisations and 22 million people across the United Kingdom, the open letter demanded that the prime minister take “the biggest existential threat” since 1945 seriously.

Uswitch

It must be difficult for a company to admit that their customers should not do the thing their business helps them to do — in this case, switch their energy supplier. But with gas prices rising and energy bills sure to follow, the prevailing advice is to stay put. Uswitch takes this in stride, reminding their readers they’ll still be there when the time is right to move.

British Gas

On the other side of the coin, the centuries-old energy supplier British Gas uses news brands to reassure customers they have their back.

WeThe15

When the Paralympics took over television schedules in August, the Games showed us the incredible superhuman abilities of athletes with disabilities. But WeThe15, using eye-catching formatting, challenges readers to see the world’s 1.2 billion people with disabilities as just that: People — with mortgages, kids, and bad hair days, just like anyone else.

TV production companies

In the week of the governing party’s annual conference, there was a lot of talk about “levelling up” regions outside London. Also in the background, however, were discussions about the selling off of public broadcaster Channel 4. In another direct challenge to the government using the power of news brands, a coalition of regional TV production companies make their case against the sale.

Currys

Not all these types of ads need to be quite so existential. With trust a major factor in how consumers interact with companies and organisations, electric retailer Currys demonstrates the value of real expertise in a world full of keyboard “experts” and misinformation. Next time, let’s just ask Terry.

About Lewis Boulton

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