The Guardian’s Strategic Branding

The UK’s The Guardian newspaper, renown for investigating and breaking the story of News Corp’sscandalous phone hacking practices,  is now solidifying its branding with an incredibly creative multi-platform brand awareness campaign.

Using a children’s fairytale as the core of the ads, the campaign presents The Guardian as a tireless, truth-seeking, investigative news medium that goes beyond traditional print. A Marketing Week article explains the branding as a strategic move to help the ‘paper become a revenue-generating machine across all digital channels – web, social media, mobile, print, etc.

I think this a brilliant idea, and the execution is worthy of the ‘paper’s premium positioning. As consumers source their news from global media – New York Times, The Guardian, The Economist, et al – national flagship newspapers will be start competing more directly. Staking its claim now as the deliverer of fair and balanced reporting means The Guardian will have a strong market position for the battles to come.

The reason this concept works is very simple. Branding is based on cultural archetypes, that is, universally understood symbols and representations that act as shortcuts to instant understanding. In the video, we see the Three Little Pigs – cultural icons of innocence, frailty, and victimisation – become insurance fraudsters and murderers (is this perhaps a sly reference to News Corp?). By turning the universally accepted on its head, The Guardian is positioned as seeing beyond the first impression, as ready to look beyond the obvious and the accepted truth, in order to find the REAL truth.

Watch the video and read the Marketing Week article here.

See The Guardian’s explanation of its concept here.