When The Sun's Sunday paper made its debut yesterday, the advertising industry heaved a large, money-scented sigh of relief.
Since the assassination of the News of the World last summer, advertisers have had 800,000 fewer people to advertise to on Sundays. And since Sundays are now the second biggest shopping day of the week, that's been a matter of some concern, particularly for retail brands.
With the arrival of The Sun on Sunday – earlier than expected and in a flurry of excitement that has energised the newspaper marketplace – advertisers are hoping audiences will return to pre-July-2011 levels and the paper will offer a solid new platform for targeting consumers. It's easy to see why Morrisons, Boots, Halifax and Mars were among the brands that bought space in yesterday's paper.
Adland likes a media launch. After all, there's usually an advertising and media buying account up for grabs to help promote the new product: a welcome fillip for the agencies chosen to handle the business. In the case of The Sun, that's WPP which handles all News International 's advertising and media requirements, thanks largely to the longstanding chumminess of Rupert Murdoch and WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell.
With NI earmarking £7m to promote the paper and rival brands stepping up their own marketing, new money is flooding into the advertising marketplace.
It has been a relatively risk-free media launch. The Sun is well established and big brands have not been deterred by the continuing problems at NI. The Sun has out-performed the wider newspaper market and increased its share of advertising revenue since last July. Now The Sun on Sunday will push that share even higher.
Claire Beale is editor of Campaign