St Luke's, which was appointed after discussions with several agencies, is charged with increasing understanding of regional press among advertising agencies, media agencies and advertisers.
BDH\TBWA previously handled advertising for the NS. The decision to review arrangements was taken ahead of the launch of major research initiatives that will feed into St Luke's activity.
The first activity will be a press campaign that will run in regional titles and the trade press. This is linked to a research project called Media Context, which aims to show how regional and local titles are used by readers.
Although the total readership of regional publications tops 40 million, publishers are facing increased competition from the internet and mobile phone channels.
Robert Ray, the marketing director at the NS, said: "The kick-off work behind our forthcoming Media Context project will not only challenge perceptions but also give a clear positioning for the medium and where it fits in consumers' minds."
- Perspective, page 12.