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Coronavirus Media

UK gov enlists newspapers for vast 'Stay at Home' coverwrap campaign


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

April 17, 2020 | 4 min read

The government has embraced newspaper advertising as a means of getting its core pandemic message out to the public. Newsworks, the industry body, has helped organise an all-encompassing campaign touching nationals and regionals spanning the UK.


UK gov enlists newspapers for vast 'Stay at Home' coverwrap campaign

The three-month advertising partnership sees the 'All in, all together' campaign get the government's stay at home message across in an "intimate, human and compassionate tone that readers can relate to".

On Friday (17 April), "hundreds" of regional and national dailies ran the copy 'Stay at home for the NHS, your family, your neighbours, your nation, the world and life itself' as a coverwrap. Those with web presences also ran it as an online takeover.

From The Guardian, to the Mail, to the Yorkshire Post, to The Scotsman and more, the message was unifed across the newsstands. The industry was quoted by PA as originally asking for £45m for the campaign, although the final figures are unconfirmed.

Stay At Home

On the back cover the ad doubles up as a poster and features the rainbow, which has been adopted as the symbol of support for key workers throughout the crisis, along with the copy: 'Staying at home for Britain'. Some of the regionals personalised this message to their area.

There's more to come from the partnership in the next three months, including a branded content element to further amplify public information, as well as more tailored campaigns and messaging.

Cabinet office minister Michael Gove said: “Newspapers are the lifeblood of our communities and we need them now more than ever. Their role as a trusted voice and their ability to reach isolated communities is especially vital at this time. With this campaign we are both saving lives by providing essential information to the public, and supporting cherished local institutions.”

Tracy De Groose, executive chair Newsworks, which led the industry’s unified response to the government’s brief, said: “We are working with the government throughout this crisis to deliver their important advertising messages in a way that will resonate with readers. This is an amazing first for the newspaper industry and a clear demonstration of how we can bring it altogether for a brand campaign of this scale.

“As we all know the trusted flow of information is more important now than ever before and this partnership is a powerful endorsement of the strong relationship we have with our growing audiences across our local, regional and national news brands."

Despite the welcome flow of government ad money, De Groose assured: "Of course, our journalists will continue to scrutinise the actions of the government at every turn of this pandemic and they will continue to play their part in defeating this terrible virus.”

PamCo estimates that the UK news brand sector now reaches 49 million people a month, 47 million a week and 34 million people a day.

The effects of the pandemic on news are proving to be severe.

Ad blacklists, in place for brand safety and compatibility purposes alone, were estimated to cost the UK news industry £50m over the next few months.

Meanwhile, broadcasters are primed for a huge drop in ad spend.

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