In a context of falling print sales and advertising revenue, The Guardian had to reinvigorate the buyers of its printed format and increase its online donations to financially support the business, and maintain its vital role as an independent, challenging voice in a media sea of fake news, knee-jerk reactions and corporate agendas.
The Guardian was about to change its format from the beloved Berliner format to a new Tabloid format. We needed to turn this into a powerful symbol of revaluation.
How we helped
The Guardian team made it clear we were advertising much more than a paper, or a website. The Guardian, historically and today, represented an alternative way of thinking, that combined clarity and imagination.
Culturally, we believed that in the physical and digital world, we had reached a moment in time where a space for a new way of thinking had become increasingly rare and crucial for society’s future.
What happened next
Rather than position The Guardian and its new tabloid format as a physical product, we would position it as a rare and much needed space. A space for hope, for truth, for imagination, and more.
We dramatised this space by creating a recurring visual motif that would bring it to life. The motif was a simple white space, sized the same as the new tabloid. We brought the power of this space into sharp relief by placing it on top of a range of provocative and timely topical backgrounds. We didn’t just launch a new tabloid format. We reminded people why The Guardian exists, and must to continue to exist.
The relevant and provocative snapshots of our different spaces formed an integrated campaign across high impact out of home sites in city centre locations as well as mobile-first digital formats and social video, showing the stretch and flex of the idea. The 'space for' platform was then extended right the way through to direct and subscription driving media in a second phase of the campaign.
Commercially, we set out to increase print sales of the new tabloid format and subscriptions.
The campaign went live in January and despite January being a seasonally difficult time for print sales, and despite category wide decline, sales increased.
We also recorded a record level of subscription acquisitions in the first quarter of the campaign.
The campaign also delivered a halo effect for other products, including driving significant increases in readers making a financial contribution to The Guardian.