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Panpa Bulletin : August 2006
august 2006 PANPA bULLETIN | 31 Tony Hale definitely comes from the world of advertis- ing. The casual manner, the clothes he wears; the light in his eyes when he talks about 'crea- tive'. As the newly appointed CEO of The Newspaper Works, the new Australian newspaper marketing body, this was a requirement and his CV has ticks in all the boxes. Hale began his career as a media planner/buyer at J Walter Thomp- son. He's done time at McCann Erickson and he's run his own multi-million dollar advertising agency Hale & Collins -- which he sold to Luscombe and Partners. He later joined The Campaign Palace and finally in late 2000 Clemenger BBDO, where he is still a board director. Hale also has a track record with News Limited, working as a con- sultant on the merger of The Tel- egraph/ Mirror and marketing The Australian during the Olympic year, increasing subscriber num- bers by around 16,000. This clearly gave the major publishers funding this new or- ganisation, News Limited, Fairfax, Rural Press, APN News and Media and West Australian Newspapers, a level of comfort. Fairfax CEO David Kirk described Hale's cre- dentials as "impeccable", while John Hartigan, News Limited's CEO and chairman called him, "a heavyweight in our industry". This said, Hale's new job is not easy. His brief is to market newspapers so that they receive a greater share of the advertising dollar. Nothing less. He is doing so in a fractured advertising envi- ronment where traditional lines of communication between media planners/buyers, and advertising creatives have all but shut down. Despite this, or perhaps be- cause of this, he is infectiously en- thusiastic about the task. "There is a perception in 'Ad- land' (in the advertising and ad- vertiser community) that newspa- pers have lagged. That it's an old medium. Circulation has gone, readership has gone. I don't think newspapers have done enough to promote what they have done to newspapers in the last 10 years -- physically they've changed quite dramatically - with colour, with preprint, with magazine inserts. The technology available now (internet, mobiles), makes the dis- tribution of that content to con- sumers quite exciting. I did some research and I was surprised how resilient newspapers have been. Merrill Lynch's report showed that readership has been quite steady, circulation over five years has only dropped 1.8%. During the same time free to air television has dropped 8.8 %. I felt that newspa- pers were underperforming." Despite newsprint outperform- ing its image and the fact that most publishers have invested in the new platforms of delivery so the content is accessible in any way a consumer wants to receive it, Hale points out that, again, the perception in 'Adland' is different. "Advertising people, media people, creative people don't look at it quite that way. When you say newspapers, they just think of the printed form. "It's partially a function of age. Lots of younger people don't even think of it. I think free to air TV has done a much better job of going out and selling what they do -- in fact wallpapering over the losses they have been sustaining. Posi- tioning has all been exciting news about the programs -- they are creating a buzz about the content rather than the delivery itself. And they love this -- the media buying agencies -- they love talking about the ratings of Big Brother, Desper- ate Housewives," he said. Not everyone in 'Adland' has been happy with this approach. According to Hale creative agen- cies have been left behind in the 'persuasion index'. Since accredi- tation creative agencies drifted one way, media buying agencies the other. The natural intersection was the common strategy. That doesn't happen anymore. The creative agencies are very frustrat- ed. By the time the creative brief comes to them it says '30 sec TV'. The advertiser in association with the media buyer makes the decision -- almost exclusively without the account director or the creative person. The media buying people don't even see the creative. They're planning the me- dia in actual isolation to the mes- sage." "The wheel is starting to turn as the creative agencies have in- troduced a UK trend, a new iden- tity, or an old one reinvented - the 'channel planner' -- who attaches themselves to the strategic plan- ning section of creative agencies, so they can operate further up- stream and hopefully have some input as to where the communi- cation will go. Myth busting Hale says if you are trying to reposition newspapers as a con- temporary medium. There are some important messages to get out there, some of which are bust- ing myths. He gave his top three: 1. The circulation/reader- ship myth -- it is not in terminal decline, it is actually quite resil- ient. 2. The myth that news- papers don't work. Newspapers need to be quantified as an effec- tive medium in which to adver- tise. You need to go out to adver- tisers with conclusive evidence that they will get a return on that investment. 3. The myth that newspa- pers aren't an exciting creative medium. A lot of people still look at them in terms of full page col- our, 20 x 5 and such. There are sec- tions, different sizes, and different delivery platforms -- of course all that needs selling. "As part of that we have to look very closely at the measurement system we have to tell that story. "I'm a keen proponent of meas- urement. One of my advertising industry functions has been to be on the AFA Effectiveness Commit- tee -- and I am still deputy chair. I think it is incredibly important to demonstrate effectiveness with anything we do. "In respect to The Newspaper Works there has to be one very hard and real measure and that is the share of advertising dollar." Hale hopes to make an early visit to the UK's, The Newspaper Marketing Agency. who he says has a fantastic model and is hav- ing great success. "There's a lot for us to learn there", he said. "I think it is really important to be quite bold in what you say in the market. There is so much communication, so many mes- sages out there. The biggest sin would be to go there with some- thing which tends to fall back into conventions, things that have been done before and therefore too easily ignored." Some might say the brief is daunting. reposition newspapers in the minds of advertisers as the modern medium. tony hale is all fred up for the challenge Meet Tony Hale, new CEO of The Newspaper Works “In respect to The Newspaper Works there has to be one very hard and real measure and that is the share of advertising dollar.”