Media Lifeline: Newspaper Marketing Agency

Though early research failed to impress, the NMA makes grand claims for newspapers. July 2002: All but one (the Financial Times) of the UK's national newspapers decide they need a bureau to market the medium to the advertising industry - they hope it can do for them what the Radio Advertising Bureau has done for radio, as newspapers face challenges for ad revenue from media such as radio and outdoor. Richard Webb, the general manager of News International's News Group, heads the bureau's inaugural eight-strong board.

July 2003: With Maureen Duffy, a former ITV programming controller, as chief executive, the Newspaper Marketing Agency formally opens. A research initiative showing that many men turn to the sports pages first fails to impress the ad industry.

April 2004: Less than a year after the launch, cracks begin to appear, with member newspapers in conflict over funding a future direction. Express Newspapers and Independent News & Media refuse extra funds for new activity above and beyond the NMA's basic remit. Students of the history of co-operation between newspaper publishers are not entirely surprised at this development.

September 2004: The NMA faces censure by the Advertising Standards Authority over one of its own ads. The work, courtesy of TBWA\London, shows a stiletto heel spiking the body of a businessman while his blood forms a pool on the ground.

November 2004: The NMA unveils what it calls ground-breaking research, showing that the inclusion of newspaper advertising in a multimedia campaign can double brand commitment. It follows hard on the heels of research purporting to show that newspapers are young people's second favourite medium - after radio. More 16- to 24-year-olds read a paper each week (77 per cent) than visit a pub (48 per cent).

Fast forward - November 2005: New divisions open up among the NMA's backers when it launches a piece of research showing that broadsheet newspapers provide the best canvas for quality colour brand advertising campaigns. Further controversy erupts when it decides to use daytime television as the main medium for a new campaign promoting these findings.


Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content