Communication objectives are imperative to success as they provide an important focus for the marketing and communication team and frame the strategic approach.

Here at Newsworks, we believe that newsbrands can play various roles within the media landscape and can work effectively to deliver results across a number of different marketing objectives.

Using learnings from around the industry we have synthesised the job for communications into six core routes. These range from building fame and stature for a brand, to prompting action; educating readers on what a brand stands for; building trust and addressing a particular issue, as well as changing minds. In the age of storytelling, newsbrands play a role in delivering outcomes against all six core routes. We cover these in more detail below and provide a number of campaign case studies for each, demonstrating how brands have successfully delivered against each of these communication objectives for a range of well-known brands.

Fame & stature

Brands that connect with human emotions by harnessing the power of fame and stature are significantly more successful in achieving growth. As such, this sits at the heart of many marketing and advertising campaigns. In earning consumers’ attention and building a sense of shared excitement through the power of emotion, brands are able to build brand equity for the long-term and change consumer behaviour.


The role for newsbrands:

Newsbrands create the sense of a brand having momentum; of being an important brand that commands attention. Examples of advertising campaigns which capitalised on newsbrands to drive fame and stature include:

Volkswagen UK – Rammed with confidence

The SUV market has become a fierce battleground, with launches of small SUVs particularly on the rise. It was into this well-established market that VW launched its first ever small SUV – the T-Roc – and, as a latecomer to the category, it needed to stand out from the crowd.

To do this, PHD took the core product benefit of the T-Roc – a car designed to give drivers more confidence – and turned it into a media strategy; taking media planning and buying to the next level.

Tesco- Weekly Little Helps

Tesco, MediaCom, News UK, Reach Solutions and BBH united for the supermarket’s ‘Weekly Little Helps’ campaign and, in doing so, increased sales, value perception and ROI.

In 2017, brands were facing a seismic challenge with 81% of shoppers ranking price as their number one factor when choosing which supermarket to shop at. The economic climate, alongside the growth of budget stores, saw many customers seeking alternative options for their groceries, making the battle for sales harder than ever.

In order to create standout, drive consideration and boost sales with its ‘Weekly Little Helps’ low cost messaging, Tesco adopted a simple solution – be there first.

Halifax – Money

With the aim of boosting consumer awareness and preference for its brand, Halifax teamed up with Metro to demystify the world of finance. Recognising that most brands talk about their products, Halifax saw an opportunity to instead reinforce its alignment with people’s lives and their interests. To do this, a focus on money rather than finance was key.

In September 2017, Halifax and Metro launched the news brands’ first ever weekly personal finance section, Money. Metro was a natural fit for the campaign thanks to its great reach among young, metropolitan consumers and its attitude to making news approachable.

Nike – Harry Kane

To mark Harry Kane’s 100th Premier League goal, Nike wanted celebrate the footballer – a Nike ambassador – and underline how his determination, modesty and resilience are closely linked with Nike’s own brand values.

With Kane a born and bred Londoner, Nike wanted to create a sense of pride among fellow Londoners. The Evening Standard proved to be the perfect place to mark Kane’s ascent to an elite group of players – having scored 100 Premier League goals, all while wearing Nike Hypervenom boots. Nike’s research also revealed that the brand had lost touch with young Londoners, so reigniting the bond by championing the pulse of London through its people was a priority.

Address an issue

These days, if you want to get your opinions around a particular issue into the public domain there are many options. Whether it’s through the written word or via a photo or video, there are countless platforms and apps at our fingertips, which allow us to fire off what we’re thinking and feeling into the ether. However, newsbrands offer campaigners a somewhat ‘weightier’ environment in which to reach their audience compared with other vehicles.


The role for newsbrands:

Newspapers are renown for raising the issues that matter and elevating them to the world stage. Think of The Telegraph’s expose of MP’s expenses, which triggered the most explosive British political scandal of the modern era. Or how about David Walsh, chief sports writer for The Sunday Times, and his 13-year investigation into Lance Armstrong’s doping habits. It is because of this journalism that newspapers continue to offer an effective environment for brands and campaign groups to raise specific issues or events, apologise, ask questions and make a point in a contextually relevant environment.

KFC – The Great Chicken Crisis

A major supply chain issue forced KFC to temporarily close hundreds of stores around the country earlier this year, equating to £1 million loss of revenue per day. The story quickly became front page news with global news outlets picking up on the chicken crisis.

In a bid to take control of the situation and demonstrate humility and humour, KFC used newsbrands to say “we’re sorry”. Newspapers were able to deliver a timely and powerful message to a large-scale audience in a trustworthy environment, while encouraging conversation and generating a positive sentiment.

Movember – #FOMO(VEMBER)

Few brands can claim to have redefined a category but Movember has done just that. Pre-Movember, charities weren’t particularly focused on fun and it wasn’t normal to lay claim to a month of the year.

In fact, Movember’s strategy was so successful that lots of charities adopted a similar model. By 2017, months were increasingly owned by a cause and fundraising was becoming more radical. Not only that, moustaches weren’t quite as unusual as they once were with the rise of hipster culture. Awareness of the brand was still strong but participation and donations were significantly down.

To re-engage people, Movember partnered with News UK and Sky for a complex content partnership. Centred on the idea of ‘FOMOVEMBER’ – a life you’d miss out on if you died too young.

Paddy Power – Rainbow Russians

Paddy Power’s advertising is well-known for being mischievous and provocative, and when Russia hosted the 2018 World Cup, it saw an opportunity to draw attention to a serious issue: homophobia in football.

Building on its award-winning Rainbow Laces campaign, Paddy Power wanted to champion inclusivity and, with the world’s focus shifting to Russia, show support for the LGBTQ+ community. Not only would this develop its previous messaging, it would also allow it to stand out in the cluttered bookmaker marketplace.

Education & understanding

Achieving a higher level of understanding of what a brand stands for and the benefit and value that it can offer to people is paramount for some brands. Educating people on how a brand can fulfil their needs and interests is an effective approach to building trusted and emotional connections, as well as helping strengthen brand perceptions and advocacy. The more brands educate their customers and potential customers, the greater their receptiveness to more directional advertising further along the purchase funnel.


The role for newsbrands:

Newsbrands help readers to stay well informed about what’s going on in the nation and the wider world across a broad range of subject matters. They provide a great sense of educational value and offer an effective opportunity to deepen consumer understanding of what a product, brand or company is or does. There are many examples of newsbrands being used to educate people about brands, a few of which are detailed here:

Cancer Research UK – The UK success timeline

Donations to Cancer Research UK fund studies and campaigns that have saved millions of lives. Telegraph Spark – the commercial division of The Telegraph – teamed up with the charity to take a look back over the past 75 years to see how far treatment and diagnosis of cancer has come, and look forward to a future where three in four people survive the disease.

Central to the campaign is an impressive stop frame animation which charts some of the most significant breakthroughs Cancer Research UK has seen since 1902. The team created an impressive animation made almost entirely of paper cut out by hand.

Cancer Research UK – Good news happening right now

It’s rare that the words ‘cancer’ and ‘good news’ are found together. Cancer Research UK wanted to change this and highlight the amazing progress made in the fight against cancer; one in two now survive the disease, but that’s an advancement that is rarely heard of. By celebrating the small wins in the lives of cancer patients, as well as the big wins in terms of overall survival rates, CRUK aimed to simultaneously inspire people, make them feel more positive towards the charity and demonstrate how donating can make a difference.

A month long editorial partnership with Reach Solutions focused on ‘good news happening right now’ via the Daily Mirror, Daily Record and 15 regional titles. The activity was launched with a full-page editor’s letter by Mirror editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley.

Prostate Cancer UK – Making prostate cancer unavoidable

Prostate Cancer UK and the7stars teamed up with Trinity Mirror in a bid to reach the publisher’s large sports readership.

Despite being one of the deadliest and most prevalent cancers in men, prostate cancer is often ignored by men who are reluctant to talk about their health. The challenge was to create a campaign reaching men aged 45+, confronting them with the realities of the disease in a way they couldn’t ignore.

The campaign utilised Prostate Cancer UK’s position as charity partner of the Football League and Trinity Mirror’s football readership (the Mirror alone has over 650,000 male football fans aged 45+) to spread the message.

No1 Rosemary Water – Rosemary Water

No1 Rosemary Water and Bountiful Cow used newsbrands to capitalise on topical news stories about the positive effects of the herb.

With plenty of fads and fake health claims cluttering the water market, No1 Rosemary Water needed to drive credibility about its product with a trusted source. Following newspaper coverage of a scientific study into the positive benefits of rosemary on people’s memory, No1 Rosemary Water were able to reach the same readers 24 hours later with a highly relevant ad referencing the newspapers’ editorial.

Build trust

Trust is a key driver of brand loyalty, an attribute that marketers crave due to its ability to power long-term growth. We know that newsbrands have a unique, trusted relationship with their readers and Newsworks’ study ‘Truly, Madly Deeply’ points towards a significant brand rub effect between advertising medium and advertiser brand.


The role for newsbrands:

Newsbrands have sought to create new and meaningful ways to allow brands to benefit from the unique relationship that they have with their readers. The growth in branded content and native advertising is the most apparent manifestation of this trend. It is evident that newsbrands are placing strategic importance on their ability to offer brands fully integrated content solutions and leverage the power of trust.

It is because of this that newsbrands are better equipped than ever before to offer advertising that acts to consolidate or develop a brand’s reputation.


Nationwide – Voices Nationwide

Nationwide used newspapers to land its Voices campaign, allowing the brand to target both young and older audiences.

Nationwide wanted to cut above the noise in a competitive market and differentiate from other banks with a quality AV-led campaign. However, the brand recognised that to improve effectiveness and ROI, it needed to enhance the media mix with a channel that embodied trust, heritage and conviction.

TSB – The relationship project

How does a bank successfully drive consideration for its current account product when people are more likely to switch their spouse than their bank? Luckily, TSB had insight that Guardian readers are 64 times more likely to read relationship content rather than banking content, which enabled the brand to cut-through long-standing category inertia.

TSB positioned banking relationships as a slightly unrewarding life partner, encouraging people to consider why they have settled for all this time. The campaign personified readers’ current accounts, pushing them to wake-up and wonder whether they could do better – then showing them how to get what they deserve from a long-lasting relationship (with their bank).

Discover more

Prompt action

In many cases, advertising investment is deployed to drive a short-term response from people, by proving a compelling reason to purchase promptly rather than defer purchase decisions. In this instance messaging tends to include language such as “call now”, “find out more” or “visit a store today”. Other types of prompts provide consumers with strong reasons for purchasing immediately, such as an offer that is only available for a limited time or a special deal usually accompanied by a time constraint.


The role for newsbrands:

Newsbrands are well placed to prompt consumer action, directly or indirectly impacting sales, not only due to the immediate and ‘of the moment’ nature of the content that they are built upon, but also because they form part of people’s daily routines. Examples of brands which have harnessed the power of newsbrands to prompt action include:

reMarkable – Easy like Sunday morning

One innovative digital tablet brand capitalised on a more reflective weekend newspaper audience to engage readers with its new product.

Sunday is a day of pleasurable rituals, whether it’s enjoying the delights of a proper Sunday lunch with your family or – for 9.2 million people – sitting down with the Sunday papers.

Quality newspaper readers, for example, spend 1 hour 43 mins reading their Sunday paper – that’s an average of 24 minutes longer than time spent on a weekday paper. This allows for the perfect opportunity to introduce and explain a product/service that requires more reflection.

BMW – MINI 1499GT: ‘The World’s Fastest Car Launch’

For the launch of MINI’s limited edition 1499GT, BMW used Metro to physically make the new car headline news. Deploying a bespoke media first for Metro – a five-page cover wrap, which was replicated on the digital edition – the activity ensured that the launch set the news agenda on 16 November 2017.

The aim of the campaign was to increase test drives and sales of the new model by creating a sense of scarcity and urgency among potential buyers. In reference to the model number, people were given just 1,499 minutes for test drives and there were only 1,499 vehicles for sale. The entire campaign acted as a live countdown, with maximum impact created via Metro on the day of launch; building immediate momentum and prompting rapid action.

Channel 4 – The Handmaid’s Tale

In a world of boxset bingeing, Channel 4’s challenge was to make the second series of The Handmaid’s Tale an unmissable live TV event. To do this, the campaign tapped into the prominence of the #MeToo movement and gender pay gap debate to create temporary outrage using the voice of Gilead. The aim was to give the public a taste of what life would be like in a twisted society where women’s rights had been stripped away.

With gender equality issues regularly grabbing headlines, newspapers provided a relevant environment for the campaign to garner attention and fuel debate.

Halfords – Unplug and reconnect

Halfords teamed up with The Mail on Sunday to galvanise the nation to down screens and get outdoors over the summer.

Thanks to a gloomy economic outlook and the rising cost of package breaks, foreign holidays were out of reach for many. With this in mind, Halfords set about promoting staycations via quality outdoor activities. In short, the aim was to make Halfords the home of summer experiences and drive footfall to stores during a crucial sales period.

Changing minds

Newbrands are one of the oldest sources of information regarding current events – predating the invention of radio, television and the internet – and they play a vital role in society because of their ability to influence how people view the world; helping to shape both people’s values, ideas and opinions. It is because of this that they are a powerful tool in changing the way people perceive a certain situation, topic or personality.


The role for newsbrands:

Newsbrands offer an effective environment in which to communicate brand messages that aim to shift people’s attitudes and change minds.


ITV – Quality TV to Go

With the rise of VOD platforms, keeping light viewers tuning into ITV was becoming progressively harder. To improve brand perception, drive awareness and increase viewing, ITV turned to newsbrands for a long-term solution that would use editorial influence to overcome brand snobbery.

Working with Metro, ITV and Goodstuff created the first ever on-demand content section in the newspaper’s history – ‘TV to Go,’ to position the channel as a relevant, modern content brand. The three-page feature was supported by nine high-impact cover wraps over the course of the year to drive impact and awareness of ITV’s flagship shows on the day of transmission.

ProperCorn – Guide to Proper TV

ProperCorn built its business on single serve, ‘on the go’ packets, but future growth lay firmly in the sharing and multi-pack space. It achieved this by tapping into the optimal ‘sharing bags’ moment: when people are watching TV together.

Due to budget limitations and the length of the campaign, ProperCorn had to infiltrate TV without actually spending on TV ads. By partnering with ESI Media, ProperCorn was able to reach its target audience at a key time – as commuters travelled home to watch TV – via a collaborative content campaign.

The Guardian – PAMCo

The launch of the new PAMCo data has signalled a significant shift in how newsbrand planning is evolving and The Guardian wanted to fully embrace this, bringing the new data to life. The aim was to develop a narrative to engage and inspire agencies, arming them with evidence and providing them with new solutions.

Focusing on two key elements, Guardian Media Group created a new ‘Truth Narrative’ – a strategic sales story aimed at planners – and ‘Moments’ packages targeted at an operational and investment level. The challenge was to get agencies to look past their regular planning tools and re-evaluate the value of newsbrands.