Be London’s Headline with The Evening Standard’s cover-wrap competition

The Evening Standard's cover wrap for The Virtues

Each day there is a time when the commuter is the most valuable audience for publishers and advertisers. With little to do but read, listen to or otherwise absorb information from newspapers, the radio or digital media, the mind of a commuter is fertile ground for effective messaging."

London as we know is a city of commuters, with those who commute into the city spending the longest time traveling to work on average of any group in the country. Consequently, these commuters are catered to by some of the most recognisable media outlets in the country, and provide those outlets with an opportunity to set the agenda for the day through both editorial and advertising.

The Evening Standard’s audience reaches beyond its print circulation of 856,000. Its research demonstrates that 1.4 million people read the title each day, but the reality is that even those who do not physically pick up a copy will be exposed to the title. As a result, the Standard is revamping its use of cover-wraps in order to offer advertisers the opportunity to reach the 2.4 million Londoners who will see the cover wrap print ad each day.

ESI Media’s managing director of commercial Jon O’Donnell believes it offers advertisers the opportunity to own the conversation in the capital: “’Owning The Day’ on The Evening Standard allows brands to connect with our audience throughout the day via multiple touchpoints. Our audience are always on, always busy, so for advertisers it is important that our relationship with them lasts the whole day.

“Our audience wake up with us on mobile, checking that day’s London headlines. At work, their attention moves to desktop, browsing trending content. On the way home, the paper comes to life, both through the physical product and experiential support around it – vendors, sampling and event projections. For brands wanting to work with us to speak to the London audience, it is the hero moment, with big impact.”

He cites the example of a cover wrap created on behalf of Channel 4 show The Virtues, which saw a 32% higher share of viewing among Evening Standard readers that night, according to OnePulse.

Capital gains

That uplift is especially valuable when it relates to the media-savvy, lucrative audiences in and around the capital, who are traditionally seen as being at the forefront of new experiences and trends. O’Donnell explains: “We all know that advertisers want as little wastage as possible and this is where the London audience really delivers; it so desirable in terms of affluence and engagement that advertising to that group is a failsafe option."

He believes that the outsized importance of the region to the UK economy gives its commuters a cachet that advertisers do well to appeal to: “This economic importance gives the city a key role within the UK advertising landscape of course, with a population able to buy into brands and products. London accounts for over £1 in every £5 earned across the UK and has a gross disposable household income 40% higher than the national average.”

While the Standard recently underwent a refresh, dropping the capital’s name from the masthead - it is intimately associated with the transport network of the city, with its distributors stood at Tube station entrances being a familiar sight to the city’s population. It therefore enjoys a particularly strong relationship with an audience keen to experience new things in and around London.

O’Donnell continues: “Commuters simply can’t ignore a cover wrap, so neither should brands. Whether you want to get noticed, build your brand or drive a response, they work. Quoting Leo Burnett, “…unless you make yourself noticed and believed, you ain’t got nothin’.” Put simply, The Evening Standard’s trust and influence gets you believed – a cover wrap gets you noticed.”

The paper’s editor, the former Chancellor George Osborne, has previously said that the paper will use the wraps ‘as many times as we’re asked’ by brands. O’Donnell agrees, stating: “Especially in changing political and economic times, it is a brand safe investment for advertisers and an opportunity to speak to an affluent and influential audience. As long as the demand is there, we will keep working with partners on them.”

While the presence on a London title’s front and back pages will garner audience attention by dint of its prominence, the best campaigns are the ones that use the inherent strengths of print - its tangibility and the trusted context it creates - to create truly creative ads. The medium is celebrated for its creativity almost more than any other, and wraps are often the ultimate expression of that effective inventiveness.

In order to celebrate that creativity, The Evening Standard has launched its Be London’s Headline competition - a ‘wrap battle’, with the winner running the submitted wrap on a future edition of the newspaper... The competition is open to UK based media agencies, creative agencies and brands, but O’Donnell is keen to stress that inventiveness will ultimately be the deciding factor for the winning entry: “We want to encourage agencies and brands to really think about the creative canvas The Evening Standard offers, with the cover wrap a major broadcast communication opportunity.

“We’ve run the paper as it would have looked the day of Dunkirk for the film release, frosted the paper for Game of Thrones and aligned with big cultural moments such as the Champions League with BT Sport and Adidas. We even had a conversation about turning the wrap into origami for a florist brand, allowing commuters to turn it into an instant bunch of flowers on Valentine’s Day! It could be scented, interactive or make a noise. It could be for all of London or be super targeted, as IKEA has done for new store openings.”

For more information or to enter the competition, click here.

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