Guardian Labs, the branded content division of The Guardian, has partnered Visa for a campaign paying homage to the UK’s festive high street in an attempt to encourage shoppers to buy locally this Christmas.
Created by Saatchi & Saatchi London with media agency Starcom, the campaign will see Visa take over all advertising space across The Guardian’s newspaper, website and mobile app, passing regionally targeted slots (via A Million Ads) to independent retailers and businesses from across the UK.
Spots are set to appear in Guardian podcasts, including flagship daily news edition Today in Focus.
Visa is also launching three mini-documentaries, all of which explore the role of the humble high street in serving local communities around the UK.
Cut-down versions will appear across The Guardian’s social platform, while 10 online articles will be published celebrating the high street.
"We're delighted to be working on this partnership with Visa to support the UK's high streets," Adam Foley, director of sales and strategy at Guardian Labs, said.
"With Visa and their local high street partners getting 100% share of voice across all Guardian ad slots, as well as using our most innovative content formats, such as localised audio ads and short video documentaries, we have been able to create the platform that this cause deserves at such an important time of year for retail."
Regionally targeted coverwraps of the Weekend supplement will also feature shopkeepers from across London, Glasgow, Ilkley or Bristol, each of which will include a first-person profile to allow readers to find out more about local business.
Suzy Brown, marketing director at Visa UK and Ireland, said: "To support independent retailers and their high streets, we are investing across more channels than ever. Our innovative partnership with Guardian Labs is enabling us to build on the success of last year’s campaign to give even more small businesses a voice as we look to inspire everyone to shop locally this Christmas.
"Together, we can all play a part in setting up our high streets and communities for success in 2020 and beyond."
The activity is part of Visa’s "Where you shop matters" campaign, which also includes partnerships with Channel 4 and Global.
Earlier this month, the brand released its Christmas spot, "Somebody to Love", which starred independent retailers performing a rendition of Queen’s anthem of the same name.
Ben Dalton, business director at Starcom, said: "This campaign is about giving a platform to high-street merchants. For a second year running, we’re making independent retailers the stars of our nationwide Christmas campaign to remind the British public how a little local support can make a big difference.
"Our media strategy therefore needs to deliver national stature as well as genuine local engagement, bringing to life the personality of the high street.
"The Guardian are a long-term strategic partner whose proven track record in driving social change paired with market leading innovation makes for a truly exciting solution that shows genuine commitment to the high street."