Observer reviews account out of St Luke’s in hunt for fresh image

The Observer is reviewing its 1.1m advertising account, held by St Luke’s, as part of an effort to lift circulation and give itself a fresh image.

Marketing director Stephen Palmer says: “We have entered a new phase of optimism with the new Government and we want a campaign which reflects this.”

St Luke’s won the account from Leagas Delaney in 1995. Last year the marketing budget was increased from 1m to 1.5m.

Palmer says St Luke’s will be invited to repitch for the business. He adds that Leagas Delaney, which now holds the account for The Observer’s sister paper The Guardian, will not be asked to pitch.

“It is important that we keep advertising for the two brands separate,” he says. Last Sunday’s edition of The Observer carried a limited redesign, the paper’s second since last July. But circulation is still sliding.

Its April Audit Bureau of Circulations figure was 453,517 – 0.76 per cent up on the previous month, but about 4,000 copies down on a year ago.

This compares with the Sunday Telegraph, which has over twice the sales of The Observer, with an ABC of 909,412. Palmer says circulation has now stabilised and claims it will slowly increase.

The Guardian is launching a property section on Fridays in an attempt to steal market share from The Telegraph.

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