Stuff signs Hegarty

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AUCKLAND, Today: The most creative and innovative uses of the print medium will be celebrated on Monday 3 February as part of Stuff’s inaugural Paper Planes competition, judged by ad legend Sir John Hegarty.

Stuff GM of newspapers & parterships Ben Rose today marks the occasion with a Q+A …

You’ve been in this role for almost a year now – what are some of the most significant changes or milestones that you’re proud of?
I’m proudest of the massive change we’ve made to our print advertising revenue trend. It’s been incredible seeing my colleagues across the whole organisation mobilise to ensure no advertiser or agency misses out on the power of print.

This wouldn’t have been possible without starting to dispel some of the myths and change some of the perceptions about print as a medium. It’s an ongoing task but through creating conversation via industry media and good, old-fashioned door knocking and pavement pounding, it feels like the medium is being allowed to shine again.

It’s great to see marketers stepping outside of the industry bubble and remembering that a huge majority of New Zealanders continue to love and value their newspapers.

Have your thoughts towards print changed over this time, and why?
Undoubtedly. I originally took this role because of the evident difficulty of the task but my perceptions about the popularity and power of print were, like many marketers, skewed by the hype of new media.

I subscribed to the mistaken notion that broadcast media are all moribund (new is good and old is bad) and the truth has turned out to be the polar opposite.

The fact remains that 66% of New Zealanders read a newspaper every week. These readers are commonly Baby Boomers and therefore frequently have more disposable income and trust in the titles they’re reading because of their long, collective heritage of integrity, relevance and credibility.

This makes for a powerful medium and is why we see significant growth in categories like travel and retail where smart marketers have worked out that there is value to be realised here. My job is to persuade those who don’t yet get it!

Tell us about The Paper Planes – what made you want to launch this new competition?
Despite countless New Zealanders continuing to read, trust and love their newspaper, many agency folk just don’t seem to believe it. I was horrified to see recent Nielsen stats showing that only 4% of New Zealand media agency spend goes to newspapers.

Digging deeper, it turns out there’s an underlying perception among agencies that print is a boring medium without creative potential.

We wanted to remove this barrier, so we decided to create a platform for large national brands to demonstrate how creative this medium can be. It was important that we were applying only the highest creative standards, which is why we invited Sir John Hegarty to come over, judge and kick off this new award.

To make it worthwhile for the brands, we also decided to give away half a million dollars’ worth of advertising in our newspapers.

It really is as simple as that. We want to shine a light on print creativity to get brands and agencies to consider newspapers again. And a shiny trophy can’t hurt!

“66% of New Zealanders read a newspaper every week.”

In your opinion, what makes a great print ad?
I start from the position that an ad can only be called great if it creates exceptional results. If it drives the change the advertiser invested in creating, then that makes it great. Newspaper ads already have a head start because research continually proves that people trust ads in newspapers more than any other medium.

Specifically when it comes to placing an ad in newsprint, I believe there are three factors that make an ad great:

  1. Insight. Great ads are based around a single-minded proposition that speaks to a truth or insight that resonates with the audience.
  2. Impact. Great ads get noticed – more often than not this comes from the courage to stand out and not to revert to the safe (and forgettable).
  3. Environment. Great ads have their power magnified by the relevance of their message to the context within which they appear.

In contrast to developing a tvc or digital ad, what are some of the key elements when developing for newspapers that advertisers might not consider?
The limits of print advertising are endless, with so many levers a brand can pull when it comes to creating a compelling ad for publication in print. From growing plants out of paper to putting blood in the ink, the only limit here is your creativity.

At Stuff we’re focussed on creating powerful solutions for advertisers that deliver them results.

We encourage advertisers to think about ideas that might run across multiple pages, use bespoke ad shapes and sizes, make powerful use of the context within the paper or use the impact of the front cover on retail stands to make a splash.

With initiatives like the Paper Planes, we’re challenging advertisers to imagine new and never-done-before ways to use what we know is an incredibly powerful channel.

What are some examples of the most creative, innovative uses of the medium you’ve seen over the years?
There are so many, which as part of my role I spend far too much time uncovering.

My all-time favourite would have to be a 2015 initiative in Japan, from media agency Dentsu and newspaper the Mainichi Shimbunsha (scroll down for the link).

To raise awareness of the importance of recycling and taking care of our planet, they developed a paper and ink combination that, after reading, could be planted and would flower into plants.

Another campaign that stood out for me was from Stihl in the US, in 2009 (scroll down). They really set the standard for making the context and the message inextricably powerful. If you haven’t seen them yet, you’re in for a treat.

Entries close next week
The deadline to enter Stuff’s Paper Planes competition has now been extended to 5pm, Wednesday 18 December.

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