Sydney Morning Herald shows marketers not taking advantage of the moment

This post is by Pam O’Connor a Senior Consultant at TrinityP3. Pam is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an AMI Certified Practising Marketer, has lectured for the AAAA, RMIT and is qualified to ‘Train the Trainer’ through the Australian Institute of Management.

With the launch of the weekday editions of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age to a tabloid size this week it raises the question as to why marketers did not take more of the opportunity to create advertisements that capitalised on the event.

With around 50 different advertisers appearing across The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Monday’s launch day saw only 3 creating an advertisement associated with the monumental change of the size in the newspaper’s nearly 180 year history.

Print media image

BMW took the lead by “Change the Way You Move” with six various sized advertisements to promote BMW X1 which included a promotion of a chauffeured driven ride home in a BMW X1.

The Commonwealth Bank played on the change of size to highlight that interest rates often change and promote fixed interest home loans. The advertisement appeared as if it had been originally planned to appeared in a broadsheet newspaper and therefore had been cut off as it did not fit the new tabloid size. A bit lost on many readers as it looked as if it was a printing error but nevertheless a good attempt to focus on the change of the day.

Challenger promoted the ability of annuities to remain stable even if, as the headline read “This paper might shrink but my savings don’t have to.”

Mumbrella reported that Media buyers welcome first Fairfax ‘compact’ edition and data from Commercial Monitors shows that there were more overall number of advertisements on the previous Monday editions, up by 8 in Sydney and 4 in Melbourne.


With a greatly increased print run that was sold out in most outlets across the city by lunchtime, the interest in the newspaper was heightened with the new look. The topical nature of the change was being promoted across the day with publicity and news stories that scrutinised and dissected the new format. Even an evening edition of the tablet version of the newspaper (it almost sounds like the evening Mirror and Herald are being reincarnated).

The interest in special  events, be they Royal and celebrity weddings, babies or scandals  creates higher news interest be that readers or viewers. Advertisers should not let these opportunities slip through their fingers.

But with the amount of attention and interest being incredibly high  only three thought it worthwhile to hone in on the new situation.

Opportunities like this are few and far between and worthy of engagement gold by the advertisers who took advantage of the moment.

Interested to hear your views. Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Pam O'Connor

Pam O’Connor looks too young to have been in the advertising media business for 30 years but alas...she has been! Seen all the tricks, heard all the tricks and can read between the lines of all the bells and whistles presented to any advertiser. Knows what to look for, where to look and how to look...advertisers simply do not know what they don’t know. Read Pam's bio here
This entry was posted in agency solutions, industry news & trends, interesting observations and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Sydney Morning Herald shows marketers not taking advantage of the moment

  1. It's funny – the buzzword for the last month in marketing has been "real time marketing" (thankyou, Oreos), yet marketers & agencies didn't take advantage of one of the most straight forward opps to be timely & relevant for the tabloid (sorry, "compact") launches

    • Pam O'Connor says:

      Maybe the excitement of real time marketing leaves behind the planned approach of traditional media. In a age where we can access most services here and now and the expectation is to do more quicker, there maybe some that struggle not to work under pressure regardless of strategy. Marketers had since last June to think about and plan for this change.

  2. Nathanael Small says:

    Did anyone do anything worth watching online to play on the opportunity?

    • Pam O'Connor says:

      Lots of commentary and news on line about the change, but have not seen anything specifically relating to a play on the opportunity.

  3. Arun Mistry says:

    Plethora of categories/ideas/headlines come to mind:
    - Automotive – Compact SUVs – "Fit more in to a smaller space"
    - Healthcare – Weight loss – "a slimmer you", "before and after"
    - Drinks – Energy Drinks – "small can, big output"
    Could go on, but you're right, a missed opportunity. Maybe the planners were focused on the "death of print media headlines". Whilst it's heading that way, it's no excuse to miss the tactical opportunity.

    • TrinityP3 says:

      I love your approach Arun. Clearly you are seeing more missed strategic and creative opportunities than many of the agencies in Australia. Perhaps the other planners were busy looking for that famous 'media first' and clearly this was not it for them.

  4. John says:

    I thing any savy marketeer should have targeted the many websites were the format change was being discussed. The audience is smarter and most people in my opinion would have ignored adverts and looked more at the layout of the paper and then gone online to read and discuss.
    I would have used Arun's brilliant suggestions above with adds on sites like mumbrella.

    • Pam O'Connor says:

      Great suggestion John. There would have been plenty of opportunities when a change is newsworthy.

  5. Peter Bray says:

    Or perhaps marketers are better spending their time on all the missed opportunities still in digital? There is still a disproportionate focus on TV and print. The reality is that, in terms of time invested, not enough time is being spend on true digital strategies. The printed newspaper is dying, this is not even up for discussion any more based on the data available, so why invest in what is still an over priced medium? Agencies choose to ignore the new format as the time is better spent elsewhere.

    And real time marketing in no way implies lack of planning, it simply allows flexible tactics

  6. Pam O'Connor says:

    Agree, there are missed opportunities in all media and all decisions are a compromise of knowledge and time.

Comments are closed.