Phasing can be influenced by many things including the category, campaign objectives, seasonality of the brand or product and whether the intention of the advertising campaign is to launch a new brand or product or support a brand/product that is already in market.

In general, there are three widely used marketing campaign shapes which tend to be adopted:





The flexible nature of newsbrands means that they are well placed to play an effective role, no matter which phasing strategy is in play.



Newsbrands can be deployed to deliver a burst of marketing campaign activity in a number of different ways:

  • Securing an impactful presence across one day or one week in the calendar, in multiple titles, creating a ‘not to be missed’ presence
  • Building a ubiquitous two to three week, heavy weight campaign, across multiple titles, ensuring a high impact presence to deliver high levels of campaign reach and frequency across the campaign period
  • Dominating the ads within one newsbrand publication or digital site across one day
  • A two to six week campaign, spread across a range of titles to support a seasonal sales period. A very obvious example of a category which adopts this approach is the retail industry in the run up to Christmas

‘Burst’ case study: Channel 4, ‘Alternative Election Night’

The General Election is an event that brings together the entire nation. For days, weeks and months, media coverage is dominated by the election and election night is always a special event. To make the 2015 election the most memorable for Brits, Channel 4 had an ambitious plan: host an event that would give people across the UK a fun and unique experience.

The marketing objective was simple: get people to tune in to Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night, but with so many distractions how would Channel 4 stand out?

Newsbrands were central to the task of driving viewers on just one day, 7 May. The combination of print and digital ad executions delivered the audience in a relevant and targeted environment, while contextually placing ads within election editorial emphasised Channel 4’s news credentials.

Title selection: The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Times, Guardian, Metro,

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats used: Print – Full page spread, half page DPS, 10 x 8, 27 x 8, 4 x 7. Digital – high impact HPTOs, mpu


Burst’ case study: Lego, Batman film launch

Every day during the week leading up to its UK theatrical film release, LEGO® Batman reminded readers about the imminent launch by barging in on a series of editorial newsbrand features across all platforms, as part of a partnership with Metro. Across the week, content included LEGO® Batman’s take on the ‘Trends’ section, film reviews, a tech column and the popular ‘Rush Hour Crush’, as well as the ‘Good Deed Feed’ features. The partnership formed part of a series of ‘Batman barges in’ media activations by Warner Bros.

Title selection: Metro was used for the exclusive partnership

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats used: Constant presence within multiple editorial features throughout the week

‘Burst’ case study: Currys PC World, ‘Black Friday domination’

The comms objective for this ad campaign was to ensure that Currys PC World dominated key broadcast and digital channels, driving the highest SOV among their core competitor set and prompting action. The media plan balanced out the Black Friday event across a longer period – running in the week leading up to Black Friday and through to the following Monday (Cyber Monday).

Newsbrands were instrumental in delivering a consistent presence across this period to position Currys PC World at the front of consumers’ minds, ‘warming up’ the market ahead of the main event on the Friday. A sense of immediacy through print was key to illicit short-term reaction; key national press titles ensured this could be delivered and at scale. Newsbrands were used in three key stages:

  • Stage one: TV was used to announce the campaign with two newsbrands selected to shout about “Black Tag is coming”! The Sun and The Times captured two ends of the ABC1 spectrum, maximising reach
  • Stage two: Throughout the week coverage was built on using additional titles, guaranteeing front of-mind presence
  • Stage three: Newsbrands formed the focal point for ‘own’ Black Friday. The print activity consisted of three unmissable takeovers, dominating the highest circulating titles on Black Friday, with just under 900cms per title in the first third of the book. This not only ensured huge exposure to those readers, it meant capturing an enormous market over the competition. Combined with a digital HPTO on, it was sure to dominate the newsbrand market and stand above competitors. To ensure the campaign had a consistent drumbeat of activity it maintained the weight of media across all channels using large fractional formats across the weekend to Cyber Monday


Title selection: The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Sun on Sunday, Sunday Mirror, Daily Mirror, Evening Standard, Guardian, Metro, Sunday Telegraph, I, Independent, Independent on Sunday

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats used: Print – 24 x 4, 18 x 7, 17 x 7, 20 x 10, 25 x 4, 20 x 3, 20 x 8, 33 x 8, 36 x 4, 36 x 5, full page


Drip campaigns tend to be adopted by brands who want to maximise the number of ‘in market’ weeks across the year, within a given budget. Due to the flexible nature of newsbrands and their ability to offer a myriad of different formats – of different shapes and sizes, at varying cost – they offer an effective building block for brands and advertisers to develop longer term, always on, cost efficient drip campaigns. There are many examples of brands who use newsbrands effectively to execute this approach to campaign flighting:

‘Drip’ case study: Waitrose, ‘Activating newsbrands’

Waitrose invested in newsbrands consistently across 2016 to help ensure that they achieved a higher share of consumers’ wallets and strengthen the relationship with their target audience. Manning Gottlieb OMD mapped out a unique investment strategy in core titles, which became adapted to each campaign throughout the year. With this in mind, MGOMD worked closely with the creative agency adam&eveDDB to create bespoke creative per newsbrand platform.

Activity included seasonal branding for where dominant and disruptive formats showcased the high-quality food, creating excitement and anticipation. Additionally, ownership of core newsbrand titles in 2016 enabled Waitrose to educate, inform and tell a richer story of how its loyalty programme can save customers money. Newbrands were critical to this in order to showcase the range and deliver the engagement readers needed to understand the scheme.

During the course of the year, newsbrands were also used to communicate provenance in a relevant foodie context, drive weekly offers with immediate call to actions and deliver native content via a tie-up with The Telegraph to tell Waitrose’s summer story.

Title selection: The Telegraph , Daily Mail, Guardian, Times, Metro, I, Mail on Sunday, Observer, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, , MailOnline,,

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats used: DPS, Half Page, Half Page DPS, Half Page Book Ends, Fireplace, MPU, Banners

‘Drip’ case study: Kenco, ‘Coffee vs Gangs’

Honduras has a notorious record – gangs, violence, it’s the country with the highest murder rate in the world. As Honduras’ biggest coffee exporter, Kenco wanted to give something back. The ‘Coffee vs Gangs’ initiative aimed to train 20 young people to get them out of crime and into entrepreneurship – teaching invaluable skills including farming and agricultural science, English lessons and writing a business plan. However Kenco’s ethical brand position was no longer unique, the coffee category had become awash with CSR initiatives and the brand needed to differentiate themselves. By working with The Telegraph on a year-long partnership, Kenco were able to get the credible authority that was needed to separate them from the competition.

A branded online environment was created with The Telegraph, with content ranging from articles to videos made with the production team of ‘Ross Kemp on Gangs’. By working with Fundes, a leading LatAm NGO, The Telegraph’s foreign correspondent Robert Crilly and war photographer Adam Hinton were able to visit Honduras to meet the Kenco students and their families – leading to a series of powerful introductory editorial pieces, giving readers a vivid picture of the backdrop against which Coffee vs Gangs was conceived.

Across the 12 month campaign, over 5.5 million people engaged with the content, sales of Kenco increased by 8.4% and market share increased by 3%, despite being outspent 4-to-1 in media by its biggest rival

Title selection: The Telegraph

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats used: Digital – A branded online environment created to host articles and videos

‘Drip’ case study: Macmillan Cancer Support, ‘If nobody speaks of remarkable things…’

Macmillan Cancer Support teamed up with The Sun to raise levels of education and understanding about its services, reaching those directly in need as well as a mass audience.

With a focus on engaging the right people, in the right environment, with the right message via a series of longer-form stories, Macmillan joined forces with News UK to get people talking about cancer and the help on offer.

The first ever brand partnership with The Sun’s ‘Dear Deidre’ provided the perfect contextual placement for direct communication with readers, with a cancer-related letter featuring every Monday on a rebranded ‘Dear Deidre’ page.

The Monday takeover also saw the ‘topic4today’ populated with Macmillan content and an ‘Angel of the Week’ feature showcasing the work of Macmillan staff and individual carers – nominated by Sun readers and chosen by Deidre.

An ‘always on’ advertising approach across a nine month period comprising of monthly full-page advertorials created by The Sun using Macmillan case studies and an online hub of content ensured that the breadth of Macmillan’s message was heard across an extensive time frame.

Title selection: The Sun

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats usedPrint – ‘Dear Deidre’ takeover, editorial content, sponsored long form stories about Macmillans services

Digital – Online hub for Macmillan content and articles, ‘Dear Deidre’ takeover.


Given the agile nature of newsbrands and their ability to easily dial up and dial down advertising presence for a brand at any given point, they are well placed to play a strategic role across a pulsed campaign. This takes the shape of a consistent, low level media presence, complimented with regular increases of heavier weight advertising activity. Newsbrands can therefore help brands to boost impact during key time periods and optimise advertising presence, while balancing investment requirements.

‘Pulse’ case study: Aldi, ‘Activating newsbrands’

Recently Aldi has overtaken the Co-op to become the fifth largest supermarket in the UK, now sitting behind the ‘Big Four’ grocers Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

It’s an impressive achievement given that just 10 years ago the so-called discounter was the tenth biggest food retailer. But, on the back of a 12.4% year-on-year increase in sales for the last quarter (up to 29 January 2017), the brand increased its market share by 0.6 percentage points to clinch fifth place for the first time, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

This growth has been underpinned by an extensive programme of store openings attracting a significant number of new shoppers, as well as extensive media support, which newsbrands have played a pivotal role in.

Given its focus on generating customer loyalty, Aldi encourages its customers who are familiar with the brand to shop there more often. This, paired with a requirement to ensure national brand coverage of an increasingly diverse demographic group, is where newsbrands play a key role within the communications strategy, alongside other channels such as TV and digital.

Aldi use newsbrands consistently throughout the year to ensure an ‘always on’ presence, combining lower level drip activity with more significant, higher weight bursts around key calendar events. It does an effective job of honing in on special occasions to ensure a prominent position in the very competitive grocery retail market.

Consistent maintenance

Aldi’s ‘always on’ maintenance activity tends to consist of a combination of price based and brand building ads to ensure prominence in the minds of customers, ensuring that they maintain and grow brand loyalty.

Higher impact boosts

Across a 12-month period (August 2016 – July 2017), Aldi capitalised on key events through heavier weight, higher impact campaign boosts to support the likes of Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Black Friday, ensuring that the brand was at the forefront of consumers’ minds during key retail periods. In addition to supporting key events, Aldi use newsbrands as a platform to endorse its award-winning work, be it ‘Drinks Retailer of the Year’ or winning ‘Fresh Produce Retailer of the Year’.

These examples really demonstrate that Aldi are constantly working at building relationships with consumers and ensuring that an unbreakable trust is built with them.


Title selection: The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Mail on Sunday, the Guardian, i, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Sun, Sunday Mirror,,,,,,

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats used: Print – Full Page, 33×8, 25×4 (or equiv), Strips, 4 Col, 38 x 6, Half Page, plus disruptive formats

Digital – MPU, banner, video

‘Pulse’ case study: Sky, ‘Activating newsbrands’

Newsbrands have played a core role within Sky’s communications strategy across the past year, adopting a pulsed approach to investment. This can be seen through a combination of lower level ‘maintenance’ activity coupled with high impact bursts to promote key events and product launches for the likes of Sky Sports, Sky Bundles, Sky Broadband and Sky Cinema.

Consistent maintenance

Maintenance investment for Sky tends to consist of customer acquisition activity with the aim of pulling people in to the brand. It does this through promotions and competitions, plus brand advertising to ensure Sky are always at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Higher Impact boosts

Across a 12 month period (August 2016 – July 2017) Sky boosted their newsbrand activity through higher impact campaign bursts.

Sky Sports kicked off football season in August last year to promote the channel by encouraging existing customers to upgrade and new customers to join.

  • Sky Bundles used newsbrands’ platforms to promote their flagship brand Sky Q
  • Sky Broadband teamed up with Warner Bros. Pictures to promote its new Broadband Tech Team, which features the Tech Team as animated LEGO Minifigures, as well as the main man himself, LEGO Batman
  • Finally, Sky Cinema used newsbrands to showcase how its customers – new and existing – can enjoy film premieres via its channels every day

This approach to advertising ensures that consumers maintain a steady and healthy relationship with the brand and when it comes to high impact bursts for key events, they are more willing to participate as they are fully and emotionally invested.

Title selection: The Times, Evening Standard, The Sun, The Sun on Sunday, Daily Mirror, Metro, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, i,,,,,,,,

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats used:

Print – Full page, 27×8, 28×7, Half Page, 25×4, 10cm Strip, 37×6, 38×6

Digital – MPU, banner ad, video

‘Pulse’ case study: Vodafone, ‘Activating newsbrands’

The telecoms industry is very competitive. In order to stay relevant, Vodafone have adopted an always on approach to newsbrands, harnessing their strength within their communications mix across the year. Between August 2016 and July 2017, Vodafone achieved this by pulsing their investment into newsbrands, coupling steady levels of activity with high impact advertising bursts to promote product launches for new phone releases, data deals, international roaming, Black Friday and celebrating being the UK’s #1 network.

Consistent maintenance

With customer loyalty being a key challenge in the telecoms market and price being a key determining factor in brand choice, retaining current customers and continually fuelling the customer pipeline is core to maintaining healthy business results. As such, Vodafone maintained a steady presence in newsbrands with the aim of staying at the forefront of customers’ minds, communicating messaging with a focus on competitive offers for SIM only, attractive phone contracts and broadband deals.

This constant presence across the year helps to remind customers of the options available to them during early stages of the customer journey, when they are either in the process of shortlisting brands because they are considering a new phone deal or questioning their current deal.

Higher impact boosts

In terms of advertising peaks across the 12-month period, Vodafone boosted their newsbrand activity via a number of strategic, heavier weight, higher impact campaign bursts:

  • September saw Vodafone promote its SIM only deals with large data bundles across all newsbrands. This activity was tied in with sponsored content in Metro, aimed at students looking at streaming services with an ad for 24 months free Spotify subscription with new contracts
  • Vodafone were awarded as the UK’s #1 network in November 2016, and used newsbrands to promote and convey this message to consumers, showing that they offer a high-quality service with several full page and double page spreads across newsbrands. Black Friday also saw a big surge in newsbrand activity starting in November and building towards Christmas
  • For the Samsung Galaxy S8 launch, Vodafone used the power of newsbrands to release exclusive offers for new customers while also promoting the iPhone 7 with new data bundle sets. Across the same period Vodafone also continued to promote home broadband and data SIM only offers across print and digital newsbrand platforms
  • In the run up to the holiday season in June 2017, Vodafone focused on its offer of free roaming to over 50 destinations with ads aimed at making sure that people stay connected at no extra cost

Vodafone’s always on approach to newsbrand advertising ensures that current and potential customers maintain a steady and healthy relationship with the Vodafone brand; allowing it to uphold its presence in a competitive market place and drive business growth.


Title selection: The Times, Evening Standard, The Sun, The Sun on Sunday, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Metro, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, i, the Guardian, The Observer, The Mail on Sunday,,,,,,,,,

Platform selection: Multi-platform

Formats used:

Print – Full page, double page spread, editorial content, 3 column, 28 x 2, 25 x 4 (or equiv.), half page

Digital – MPU, banner ad, video