The Sun’s CMO on why it is important to give value back to readers

The Sun is looking to hone in on providing value to its readers through its campaigns in 2017 as economic and political uncertainty persists.

The Sun wants to capitalise on the current consumer trend for seeking brand value as it launches the latest iteration of its ‘£9.50 Holidays’ campaign.

The newspaper’s ‘Whole Lotta Hols’ ad goes live this week and will be featured in the paper from 7 to 31 January. It will also run across TV, online and through email and print communications.

The brand says it has a core audience that come back every year to book holidays through the promotion. However, it admits it has a job to do in reaching a new audience and battling the perception that being cheap equals poor quality.

“For those who don’t book with us, it’s unclear what they get for the money. Using user generated content (UGC) is the best way to demonstrate what they can experience by showing people similar to them.

“The Sun’s proposition has always very much been about giving value back to its readers. [The campaign] catches something that certainly this year will be at the top of everybody’s minds,” CMO Kate Bird tells Marketing Week.

For the campaign the newspaper worked with sister companies Storyful and Unruly, which were acquired by The Sun’s parent News UK in 2013 and 2015, in order to source and distribute the content in the campaign.

Storyful’s content showcases the holiday parks, but also brings to life the experiences The Sun’s readers have been having on £9.50 holidays over the past 27 years.

Bird says the long-running campaign has provided the brand with “a lot of heritage”, and aims to appeal to a broader audience this time around by targeting those who like sport, as well as targeting young families.

“A lot of people that have booked with us before carry on booking; They’re hooked on it. We now want to appeal to a broader audience [like sports audiences] by using lookalike data. We’re keen to see how far we can push it,” she explains.

[The campaign] catches something that certainly this year will be at the top of everybody’s minds.

Kate Bird, The Sun

Bird was appointed to the CMO role only three months ago, but has big plans for the brand in 2017 through the creation of campaigns that “touch the nation”. To illustrate what she means, she uses the example of the £9.50 Holidays campaign, which has engaged the public and led to the creation of numerous Facebook groups run by members of the public.

The Sun is also looking to grow its betting business in 2017 and is launching a new loyalty programme, ‘Sun Savers’, where readers can get £5 cashback by scanning 28 codes found inside the paper every day. And Bird is not worried about Brexit’s potential negative impact on print revenues either. This despite the fact that The Sun posted losses of almost £60m last year as an increase in online revenues following its decision to scrap its paywall and a rise in cover price failed to offset print declines.

She concludes: “Our view as a brand is to help people make sense of things. If anything, our brand has a bigger role to play than anything right now to help people make sense of it, which is something we do incredibly well through our value proposition and what we offer. We’re in a strong position.”

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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