The Guardian celebrates openness and independence in bold new marketing campaign

Guardian "Not for sale" global marketing campaign
Guardian "Not for sale" global marketing campaign

The Guardian has launched a new global marketing campaign — “Not for sale” — emphasizing the Guardian’s unique ownership model and strong tradition of robust, editorial independence. The work focuses on the strengths of the Guardian’s reader-funded model that helps to keep Guardian journalism open to all and positions this as a key reason for people to trust and financially support the Guardian.

Collaborating with creative agency Lucky Generals, this is the Guardian’s first brand campaign since 2019’s “Hope is Power” and embraces a new strategic and creative approach. Fresh bold designs and confident statements of independence are based on insight that the Guardian’s reader-funded model allows it to be open to all, but beholden to no one. This gives it the power to break stories no one else can, but also drives a huge range of emotive reactions that are celebrated in the work.

The campaign coincides with the launch of the Guardian’s Europe edition that provides readers on the continent with a tailored English-language edition of the Guardian website and app for the first time.

brand new film, directed by New York-based duo Rubberband and created by Lucky Generals, will showcase how the Guardian delights and challenges readers around the world. An ambitious undertaking, the film charts this multitude of reactions and features a voice over from writer and artist Inua Ellams.

With an intense and emotive soundtrack the film quickly cuts between shots of how the Guardian is consumed by people as the voiceover uses single powerful words to describe the emotions it stirs and the way its content is used.

The campaign also features a range of bold and bright posters that will run alongside each other digitally and out of home, proudly proclaiming the Guardian to be “Loved,” “Hated,” “Trusted,” “Feared,” “But never controlled.”

The campaign creative will be seen worldwide across the Guardian’s own channels to showcase its strengths in telling powerful stories, while emphasizing the importance of reader support. The creative will span audio, video, newsletters, print and social, with a paid media focus in the UK and Europe. Digital screens and posters will also feature across major European cities in the Guardian’s biggest ever European marketing push, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin and Paris, as well as London, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool and Edinburgh.

The film will feature on Channel 4 (on demand and linear), in cinemas in the UK from Sept. 25, and on a range of digital and social platforms across Europe, showcasing how the Guardian delights and challenges readers around the world.

Anna Bateson, chief executive, Guardian Media Group says: “Over the last decade we have vastly increased the Guardian’s global reach, readership and revenues, now attracting more than one million paying supporters each month. Readers tell us they support the Guardian because they believe, like we do, in robust independent media that is open to all, funded by many, and beholden to no one.

“Our new Europe edition and our bold new marketing message carry forward this mission and will help us to cultivate even deeper relationships with readers, advertisers and other partners who believe in our values.”

Joel Midgley, head of marketing, Guardian News & Media says: “The Guardian isn’t like other media brands and our campaigns shouldn’t be either. Everything we’ve produced is grounded in insights about what readers love most about us — a strong foundation that has enabled us to be playful, unexpected and bold in the execution. This is the beginning of something new for us and we can’t wait to see reader responses.”

Cressida Holmes-Smith, managing director at Lucky Generals, says: “With ‘Not for sale’ we focused on what makes the Guardian unique in the news landscape — the fact that because it is reader funded (rather than owned by controlling interests like billionaires or politicians) its journalism can never be influenced or controlled. We knew the creative idea had to be as impactful as the paper itself and really drive home the vast range of emotions and reactions its unique publishing model gives it — but in a way that no one would be expecting. From the TV to the OOH we wanted to show just how ingrained the paper is in society but also how playful it can be.”

The Guardian is currently embarking on a new three-year strategy to build on its position as one of the world’s leading quality news publishers, aiming to become more global, more digital, with more paying supporters and producing more world-class journalism.

The campaign is a collaboration between the Guardian’s marketing team with Lucky Generals leading on creative strategy and execution, supported by the Guardian’s in-house studio team from OLIVER with PHD leading media planning and buying.

About Guardian News & Media:

Guardian News & Media (GNM) publishes, one of the world’s leading English-language news websites. Traffic from outside of the UK now represents around two-thirds of the Guardian’s total digital audience. In the UK, GNM publishes the Guardian newspaper six days a week, first published in 1821, and the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper, The Observer.


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