Turning Hard News into Hard Donations

UN Women/ EssenceMediacomX

Client: UN Women

Numerous media entities and brands often express allegiance to quality journalism, but frequently retract their commitment during challenging periods. Brand safety concerns compel some to steer clear of hard news content, resulting in substantial digital revenue losses for publishers. In 2019, The Guardian wrote: “UK newspaper and magazine publishers lost almost £170m in digital revenue last year as technology designed to stop advertisements from appearing next to hard-hitting content, such as shootings and terrorism, also inadvertently blocked them from appearing in some of the most popular stories of the year."

In contrast to this prevailing trend, our approach for UN Women, a leader in disaster relief, diverged significantly. In the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which caused widespread casualties, we embraced the crisis. Opting for hard news inventory, we collaborated with media giants such as The Guardian and Telegraph, seeking to capitalise on the engaged and charitable mindset of hard news readers. The outcomes surpassed expectations. Our two-week campaign yielded an astonishing 3,600% surge in donations for UN Women's earthquake appeal. This success challenges conventional strategies, illustrating the potential for impactful engagement with hard news readers in support of vital causes.