IPA Effectiveness Awards 2004: Silver Award - The Guardian


Campaign: Fresh

Client: Guardian Newspapers Ltd

Agencies: DDB London, DDB Matrix, Guardian Newspapers, Claydon Heeley

Jones Mason

Principal authors: Alistair Crawford, DDB London; Andrew Perkins, DDB

London; Graham Fowles, Guardian Newspapers Ltd; David Bassett, DDB

Matrix; Nigel Jones, Claydon Heeley Jones Mason

With contributions from: Les Binet, DDB Matrix; Matthew Law, Tribal DDB

Media used: TV, interactive, print, press, outdoor, radio, ambient


The Guardian had been finding the going even tougher than its broadsheet rivals, their circulations tumbling as more dynamic media, particularly the internet, had eroded sales and share. Between 1995 and 2000, The Guardian's pool of readers had waned, suggesting that the paper was losing salience and relevance with the broadsheet-buying public.

In 2000, a new marketing director, Marc Sands, was appointed and in January 2001, he hired a fresh agency team: DDB London, Claydon Heeley Jones Mason and Tribal DDB to work with its existing shops PHD and pd3. DDB London would handle above-the-line work, pd3 and CHJM promotions, Tribal on-line with PHD holding sway over media.

Their main hurdle was the paper's deeply ingrained stereotype. Research showed that those who didn't read the paper deemed it too dry and earnest, dominated by heavy news reporting.

Rather than the usual two-tiered approach - one brand-building, the other response-based - the new campaign did both jobs at the same time. The brand was to be rebuilt through a product-focused approach to express the paper's "freshness".

The campaign succeeded in halting, then reversing, a six-year slump.

The title has enjoyed its first major growth spurt in more than a decade, and by October 2003 share reached its highest since spring 1995.

The judges' view

This case boasts The Guardian's first significant share growth in more than ten years, followed by an increased share of ad revenue. This is a strong paper demonstrating the returns on a fixed but flexible idea in a difficult market. It is especially commended for its thorough analysis of the effects of advertising versus sales promotion.


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