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By Amy Houston | Senior Reporter

September 20, 2023 | 5 min read

The work is the publisher’s first brand campaign since 2019’s ‘Hope is Power’ push.

The Guardian is flexing its editorial independence in a new campaign that emphasizes its unique ownership model. Titled ‘Not For Sale,’ the campaign includes a 60-second film, out-of-home (OOH) posters, audio, video, newsletters, print and social, with a paid media focus in the UK and Europe.

In the film, viewers see how the newspaper is received by people around the world. The reactions range from fear to love and hate to trust, but ultimately, the publication claims it is ‘never controlled.’ These themes also run through the outdoor element.

Directed by New York-based duo Rubberband and created by Lucky Generals, the spot features a voice-over from writer and artist Inua Ellams.

The campaign coincides with the launch of the Guardian’s Europe edition, which provides readers on the continent with a tailored English-language edition of its website and app for the first time.

Anna Bateson, the chief executive of Guardian News & Media, said: “Over the last decade we have vastly increased the Guardian’s global reach, readership and revenues, now attracting more than 1 million paying supporters each month. Readers tell us they support the Guardian because they believe, like we do, in robust independent media that is open to all, funded by many and beholden to no one.

“Our new Europe edition and our bold new marketing message carry forward this mission and will help us to cultivate even deeper relationships with readers, advertisers and other partners who believe in our values.”

This campaign comes as the Guardian embarks on a new three-year strategy to become more global, more digital and, ultimately, to have more paying supporters.

Joel Midgley, head of marketing, Guardian News & Media, added: “The Guardian isn’t like other media brands and our campaigns shouldn’t be either. Everything we’ve produced is grounded in insights about what readers love most about us – a strong foundation that has enabled us to be playful, unexpected and bold in the execution. This is the beginning of something new for us and we can’t wait to see reader responses.”

The film will feature on Channel 4 (on-demand and linear) and in cinemas in the UK from September 25.

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Cressida Holmes-Smith, managing director at Lucky Generals, concluded:

“With ‘Not For Sale’ we focused on what makes the Guardian unique in the news landscape – the fact that because it is reader-funded rather than owned by controlling interests such as billionaires or politicians, its journalism can never be influenced or controlled.

“We knew the creative idea had to be as impactful as the paper itself and really drive home the vast range of emotions and reactions its unique publishing model gives it – but in a way that no one would be expecting. From the TV to the OOH, we wanted to show just how ingrained the paper is in society but also how playful it can be.”

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