Right Brain, Left Brain Blog

46 posts categorized "Print"

30 January 2013

It's just good advertising, strong communities and Bob Dylan


Bob dylan
Dylan: Knew a thing or two about publishing

Online publishing, for all the technology it relies upon, has been unusually slow to innovate when it comes to advertising. It's almost as if the standard IAB units were carved into stone and there was a collective agreement that these sacred specifications would remain untouched.


But, like Dylan said, "the times they are a-changing". After years of being locked into publishing platforms that could only cope with these IAB standards, new technology means publishers are starting to move away from the IAB units. It's not been an easy ride. Developments like click-word models were very difficult to sell to publishers who faced vehement opposition from editorial staff. But if we go for another Bob reference, you've “Gotta Serve Somebody" nicely encapsulates the feeling that advertising serves advertisers and viewers, not editors.

Love it or loathe it, click-words are a good example of how (some) publishers are willing to take risks. Ad formats that are new to the user come with added curiosity value, and with curiosity comes investigation. Ironically, online advertising needs to work on it's own advertising. When I speak to publishers, I don't talk about an expandable unit, I just show them Say Media’s ad units, and demonstrate how cool they actually are.

Different forms of advertising that are more unusual are being embraced by publishers a lot more than they were in the past. For their part, viewers like to see different, more visually exciting elements on a web page - which is hardly surprising given that they've largely been clicking on 68x468 pixel banners for the past 20 years. Ad units that don't fit the traditional models do really well.

But innovative advertising is only as good as the viewers who can see it, and that's where audiences are key. A group that can benefit from this are local media owners - they're the ones with strong community audiences. Larger national newspaper titles have spent the past five years struggling with paywalls - an issue that just doesn't exist in the local news landscape.

Paul Hood is Digital Director at Archant, one of the UK's largest independent media businesses, active in the fields of regional news, magazines and websites. He knows better than anyone that competition in the news media space that Archant operates in is particularly fierce. Using London as an example, there are at least five prominent news media brands dedicated to delivering news and sport information to a London-centric audience.

Paul Hood
Paul Hood, Archant Media

Across the London region Archant publishes 16 newspaper titles, each with its own website,” he explains. “The question we asked ourselves was, ‘How can we leverage our high-quality local coverage of London’s biggest news and sport stories and bring them to a wider pan-London audience?’ Our answer was to create a new, digital-only news media brand and focus on addressing the gap in the market.”


The result was London24.com: a London-centric news media proposition produced exclusively by knowledgeable, local, London-based journalists. Local freesheets do a great job of catering to the commuter – the top national and London news stories are well-packaged and presented to give a good overview. But there was no news media brand covering London from the local angle.”


In February 2011, London24.com was launched. Eighteen months later, it is No. 2 in the market and is on track to be profitable by 2013.

Local community based titles like London24.com represent the ultimate examples of how powerful the combination can be when you have engaging advertising built around relevant, compelling content. Engagement rates on regional UK press are close to 2%, which stacks up very favourably against an average of 0.8%.

What becomes obvious from this stat is that community and special interest sites are hotbeds of engagement, which is strong incentive for media owners in this space to focus on their core audiences and avoid the temptation to dilute their audience as they attempt to increase it with more middle of the road content. An engaged community equals more passion. This sentiment is embodied by "Point-Of-View Publishing" – the key to success for the media companies of the future.

By Jason Lydiate, Head of Business Development, Say Media

14 June 2012

Binary finery, from print to digital

Lots of print publications have made the transition to purely digital titles – Cream did the same back a few years ago – but when Switzerland's Neue Zürcher Zeitung made the jump, it announced the new era to readers in a way that combined both mediums ancient and modern.

Earlier this month, the entire cover of Neue Zürcher Zeitung was printed in a series of 0's and 1's – otherwise known as binary, the basic language of computing – to herald the fact that the paper was going digital.

I'm surprised that Wired hasn't staged a similar stunt before and printed an entire issue in binary notation.


03 May 2012

Breast is best with an Oreo?

One of the perks of working at Cream is the exposure one gains to all types of media around the world. Some of it is better than others, and the best work ends up on our database. Some of it however, defies description - like this ad for Oreo cookies from South Korea (courtesy of Cheil).

Yes, I know that breast feeding is a natural human function and it should be perfectly acceptable for mothers to do it whenever they need to (although I can't help but still recoil at the memory of sitting next to a nursing mother on a flight from Heathrow to Manchester). That said, there are some occasions when breastfeeding is, if not wrong, then wildly inappropriate, and I have a feeling that biscuit advertising is one of them. 


Part of me feels like posting this on Mumsnet and watching it go into meltdown.

02 May 2012

How is the newspaper industry trying to save itself?

With the News International phone hacking-political scandal-Levenson Inquiry showing no signs of letting up any time soon, and the fact that barely a day goes by without Rupert, James or Wendy appearing on-screen, we've arrived at a peculiar situation where the newspapers have become the headlines, instead of just printing them.

Beyond the renewed focus on its editorial and corporate practices, what else has the newsprint industry been working on to help revive its flagging fortunes?



27 March 2012

Print is dead


Last weekend, I caught a rerun of His Girl Friday on TV. For anyone that hasn’t seen this classic movie, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell play two fast talking, wise cracking newspaper reporters whose love-hate relationship plays out against the background story of a murder case. The power of newspaper front pages is largely played for laughs, although the influence of the printed headline in the film’s life or death situation is unequivocal.

Obviously this state of affairs doesn’t exist today. Outside of tabloid scandals, newspapers now rarely break the news. Those that are still worth reading have turned their attention to analysis and comment, with the printed medium just one element of the news media company portfolio. This was brilliantly expressed in the Guardian’s recent Three Little Pigs film about open journalism.

Despite this shift in the role printed media plays in the modern news landscape, its importance as a method of communication, diversion, education, therapy and talent development is still beyond doubt - at least that’s the argument put forward by Ink-Global in this short video poem, The Journey, about the future of print.

One could argue then, that the future of print is a moot point, and if I was being cynical I would probably accuse The Journey of resting its entire argument on the fact that print will survive as people have to switch off their electronic devices during take-off and landing on an aeroplane. This is perhaps natural due to Ink-Global’s role as a provider of in-flight media.

The Journey, written & directed by David Bowden @ The Garden Studios

Putting my well-honed cynicism to one side however, The Journey is actually quite a rousing paean to the virtues of the printed word in its purest form, when ink hits paper and not just text on back lit touch-screens.

16 February 2012

The media red light district: Advertising in the classifieds

Browsing through the small ads is one of my guilty pleasures. It never ceases to amaze me the strange and bizarre things that people will advertise. Even in a prosaic title such as the Metro, the rubbish-but-popular free paper that litters the London Underground, there are opportunities to take part in clinical trials, go on a date, start a lawsuit or become an adult film actor. 

It's rare that brands bother with space in the classifieds. The sometimes off-beat and often sexual nature of the content would make most brands jittery - but not, it appears Hendrick's Gin. 


Hendrick's is spirit brand with an image built on the unusual and quirky, so if anybody was going to be found amongst the dodgy solicitors and seedy hotels - the red light district of advertising - it was going to be Hendrick's. On this occasion the gin connoissieur's favourite used the opportunity to warn its male consumers about the marriage proposal dangers of 29 February. 

Check out some other classifieds brand case studies on Cream:

Love your crisps | Tayto, Ireland

Lighting up the housing market | EPM, Colombia

Ads in the classifieds | 7UP, UAE


15 February 2012

The three ages of cinema, by Coca-Cola

Coca cola dinner at 8

Going to watch a film in the cinema is, for me, something of a ritual. For starters - I go to 'the pictures', and not 'the movies' or 'the flicks'. I don't like to so close that I can't see the entire screen at once without moving my head, nor do I like to sit so far back I might as well be watching it on the TV at home. Another key component of my picture-going experience is some sweet popcorn (not to be shared) and a Coke. 

This ritual has been in place for as long as I can remember (I was obviously a difficult child), and the only thing that has changed is that I now choose Coke Zero in a futile attempt to ward off the type-2 diabetes that races closer with each passing year. 

Coke's relationship with the movies goes way beyond my fussy cinema demands. I'm going to resist the temptation to name famous cinematic Coke-references here (a full list for trivia fans can be found on the Cokelore page), but the soft drink's association with the silver screen and its evolution has been captured nicely in this ad from Puerto Rico by DraftFCB.

Coca-Cola has even been known to set up its own cinema for a launch stunt in Colombia. See the full 'Traffic jam cinema' case study here. 

Finally, it only seems right to share my favourite Coke-in-film moment, from the brilliant 'Good bye Lenin' where a Coca-Cola poster plays a pivotal role...


09 February 2012

Publishing in the digital era

The idea of brands telling stories is a hot topic right now. Coca-Cola is all about "liquid and linked" content, Heineken has had some amazing success with its global content strategy and the theme at this year's Festival of Media is based on the "science of storytelling".

Popular wisdom suggests that the future of brand content lies in video, and video is undoubtedly an exciting and powerful medium, but the popularity of e-readers and tablets has revitalised the written word, albeit in digital form.

In our experience, the tablet edition of Wired is the standard by which other digital magazines should be judged. The technical team at Condé Nast has created a superb platform for brands. Full page ads still appear in the ‘book’, but they are now rich with content and limited only by the imagination of the advertiser.

The whole content paywall debate still continues; but users are culturally adapting to the idea of paid-for content and its value over the free general clutter that is the bulk of the internet, as demonstrated by this infographic:

Digital publishing infographic

About this blog

  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

Cream Subscribers

Other C Squared Products

C Squared logo

© C Squared Holdings Ltd.

115 Southwark Bridge Rd,
London, SE1 0AX.

Registered Number: 5272863
VAT REG NO: GB127 6174 12

Made with Fantastic Thinking