U.S. papers offer brands discount deals

Is it confidence or desperation? The National Newspaper Network in the U.S. is offering advertisers results-based deals on their campaigns. If brands don’t gain at least a 10 per cent increase in sales volume from a series of ads, they’ll get the last one free.

The offer is open first of all to packaged goods advertisers selling food, drinks, household products and health and beauty aids.

It follows a two-year test programme involving eight brands sold by large groups like Campbell Soup, Procter and Gamble, PepsiCo and General Mills. According to the newspaper organisation, all gained sales increases ranging from seven to 25 per cent, with the average around 16 per cent.

Naturally there are certain conditions: the offer applies only to run-of-paper ads, as opposed to coupons for example, the advertisers must be new to newspapers and spend at least $300,000 and buy at least one-third of a page at least three times.

The newspapers taking part are mostly local and regional, published by companies like Gannett, Hearst, MediaNews Group and McClatchy.

It’s a bold move, designed to confront head-on the “measurability and accountability” claims made by digital media, and undoubtedly necessary in the States where print media are under enormous threat.

Could it spark off similar offers from local or national tabloid papers over here? It might be worth a try for Richard Desmond or Rupert Murdoch, since all media in the UK are continually being pressed to show how effective they are.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.