News flash: press ads really work

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The Independent Online

It's an unlikely champion of the press: ayellow-silhouetted furtive figure, donning the archetypal Trilby hat of a Fleet Street hack and throwing open his reporter’s raincoat to flash a promise: “Expose yourself…to 23 million people tomorrow.”

Shadowy characters have long been used by the tabloid papers to scare and thrill their readers, but this creation of the advertising giant McCann Erickson on behalf of the Newspaper Marketing Agency, which represents the national press, is intended to shock a particular community, namely the marketing directors and media planners who decide where advertising budgets will be spent.

McCann’s London chief executive, Chris McDonald, has delighted in debunking the modern myth that mass audience has become the preserve of digital media. “Newspapers reach 23 million people over a 24-hour period and consumers spend about 40 minutes engaged with those papers. When youthinkaboutyour average 30 second advert on television, that’s quite a difference,” he says.

“Put forward that sort of data and marketing directors begin to think about their reach and frequency targets. Then you talk about how a newspaper is in your hands, you have a relationship with it and it’s an immersive experience – so the advertising has more of an effect than sitting in front of a television doing other things. This is a logical approach to what gives newspapers such value for marketeers.”

Research by NMA reveals newspapers are growing their share of the display advertising market incategories where they have been able to produce research demonstrating the effectiveness of brand-based work. So, in retail, food, cosmetics, clothing, drink and household stores, the press has increased its share of the pie in the past six years. The downside is that in other areas, such as mail order, travel, computers and leisure equipment, the industry has seen a fall-off in advertising.

The NMA has been actively making its collective case to 43 major advertising clients, of which 31 have responded by stepping up their press campaigns, leading to an increased spend of £40m by these companies last year.

Among the clients to have upped their outlay on press advertising are Diageo, Premier Foods, Lloyds TSB, Nestlé, Beiersdorf and Saab. The NMA has a difficult decision in determining where to concentrate its energies. It is “constantly balancing” the need to invest in strongly-performing sectors with the need to defend the key but declining sectors of motoring and finance advertising

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