Marketing pushes Guardian ahead of the pack

The multi-million pound marketing campaigns launched by The Sun, Daily Mirror and The Guardian had mixed returns last month, with only the latter newspaper and its sister title The Observer marking a circulation bump in September.

Guardian Tech Monthly
Marketing blitz and editorial launches, such as Observer Tech Monthly, helped the Guardian’s newspapers outperform the sector last month.

The Guardian and Observer embarked on a range of marketing activities in September, including rolling out the second part of its “Own the Weekend” campaign, the launch of Observer Tech Monthly and the new biannual magazine The Fashion. 

The activity appears to have paid dividends, with the two papers marking monthly circulation rises in a month when the entire market was once again losing print readers, according to the latest ABC data . The Guardian’s circulation rose 4.16 per cent month on month to 197,542, while The Observer was up 3.28 per cent to 223,948.

David Pemsel, Guardian News and Media chief commercial officer, says the numbers demonstrate how the company’s “continued investment in print is being welcomed by our readers”.

He adds: “The Observer’s sales figures are especially heartening since we introduced a 20p price rise midway through the month, showing how our engaged audience truly value an improved, quality product.”

The Daily Mirror launched its first brand campaign in almost 10 years in September. The ongoing #MadeUThink activity – which has included TV, press, online, outdoor and social media – is attempting to position the brand as an “intelligent tabloid” alternative to other red tops.

The title has yet to experience a pay-off in terms of reader uplift, however. The Daily Mirror’s circulation was down 1.91 per cent month on month to 1,025,970 in September. 

Elsewhere, The Sun on Sunday launched a major multichannel marketing campaign last month to herald changes to its design and editorial lineup.

The paper’s September circulation was down 2.09 per cent month on month to 1,876,476. Sister title The Sun’s circulation fell by 2 per cent to 2,213,084.

The only other daily newspaper experiencing a marked monthly circulation increase in September was The Financial Times, which rose 2.37 per cent to 241,8884.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here