GSK’s Andy Bolden Says Engagement With Local News Brands ‘Critical’ for National Advertisers

GSK’s media director for Europe Andy Bolden, a judge for this year’s Local Media Works Awards, has said that it is “critical” for national advertisers to use local newsbrands amid widespread concern around brand safety and audience measurement in the digital environment.

Writing for Campaign, Andy outlined the challenges facing digital advertising and concluded:  “I hope that brands remember the immense value of connecting with customers through local media and invest their media spend accordingly.”

Andy’s article came ahead of the Local Media Awards event on 9 November at which the winners of the Local Media Works competition for media planners, sponsored by JICREG, were announced.

In his article Andy, Europe media director/global head of trading, CH Global Categories, GSK Consumer Healthcare, wrote:  “There is no denying that, as marketers, digital has afforded us many opportunities and that it has a fundamental part to play in communications going forward.

“But I do worry that too often we get caught up in all the techno jargon, metrics and data, losing sight of how to have a conversation with our customers with effective content and context. Clearly, The Times’ revelations earlier this year about national brands appearing next to inappropriate content were a huge wake up call for the industry. The alarming disclosures raised fundamental questions about the transparency of programmatic advertising and the risks for brand safety.

“As a company, we had to take stock and think very carefully about what was best for our business going forward. Operating in the consumer healthcare sector makes the integrity of our marketing proposition of paramount importance.

“Our customers rely upon our products to help with their health and wellbeing so trust is absolutely critical. Trust is at the core of our brand values and, when we buy media, we need to have complete confidence that it will be upheld.

“News brands are real, tangible, and embedded in the communities they serve – the opposite of the remote automation of blind programmatic. Online, local newsbrands are highly trusted – local site content is trusted almost three times more than social media content – and they are free from the brand safety risks of blind programmatic.

“Finally, and importantly, local media drives real action. We know when we use it that we are going to see real results. So, in summary, I think it’s critical for advertisers to engage locally through local newsbrands.

“I was delighted recently to judge the entries for the Local Media Works Awards which celebrate excellence in local media planning. Looking at the entries reminded me of how creative it is possible to be with local and how much opportunity it offers to national brands.

“I hope that brands remember the immense value of connecting with customers through local media and invest their media spend accordingly.”

The Local Media Works Awards were set up to celebrate the vital role of highly trusted local media as the antidote to ad fraud and fake news. At the awards event this evening, the winners in each of the seven categories, including best of the best, will be revealed.

Entrants were tasked with planning a campaign for Airbus with local and regional media at its core. Entries were judged by a panel of senior media industry figures chaired by former Starcom Mediavest Group UK chief executive Stewart Easterbrook.