Putting the bite on readers

The expert media analysts employed by The Bug to deliver our regular Media Glass House columns are accustomed to seeing the occasional paid advertisement in News Corp Australia’s remaining hard-copy newspapers.

Leaving aside Harvey Norman’s obviously heavily discounted, multi-page, and seemingly daily presence, “spot the paid ad” is often a fun little game to play.

Our analysts are also accustomed to seeing many in-house ads trying to flog subscriptions – either to receive the paper itself or to sign up to related entities such as pay TV service Foxtel – or to entice readers to buy or support a sponsored or co-sponsored product or event.

But our analysts are also accustomed to seeing such ads in a traditional layout – a full-page now and then, smaller ads on the right-hand side of odd numbered pages and on the left-hand side of even numbered pages, or at the bottom of any page.

But some News Corp papers have taken a different tack with the latest campaign aimed at driving circulation and subscriber numbers.

The new nationwide promotion is for a series of 15 books on wildlife sponsored by their local News Corp paper.

The promotion, starting next month, involves readers heading to stockists and acquiring the first book for free if they buy a paper, and paying $3 for each of the remaining 14 books.

The new promotion has been the subject of full-page ads in most News Corp dailies around the nation (pictured).

But others have been rather more inventive and have carried strip ads smack bang in the middle of two facing pages.

The Advertiser in Adelaide and the Herald-Sun in Melbourne took this approach.

The Courier-Mail in Brisbane went even further and took the opportunity of placing the ad under a news story on shark attacks. (main picture)

What better position for an ad using artwork of a shark to push a wildlife book?


Speaking of in-house promos, since before Christmas 2020 the national broadshit The Australian has been running a murder mystery novel with each chapter penned by a different celebrity author.

It’s a nice idea and probably very entertaining. But the bottom line is it is a device for securing readers, subscriptions, or daily newspaper sales.

In that sense, is it genuinely newsworthy enough to justify exposure at the top of page three of the national daily? (pictured)