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ADvance benchmarking: Two ads with the right remedy

Heavy sales discounts normally win hearts – Priceline’s Half Yearly Sale advertisement was no exception with strong performances on call-to-action metrics assisted by the diverse range of categories advertised. The pharmacy chain also achieved success with its ad that asked for help to raise $1 million for charity. Readers recognised and appreciated the efforts for a good cause, building brand affinity while also driving some strong performances on call-to-action.

Priceline – Raise $1 million

Leading with “Help us raise $1 million”, this ad describes the mechanic: buy Priceline scratchie tickets for a chance to win a prize, with all profits going to the chain’s Sisterhood Foundation, which then donates directly to charities supporting Australian women and their families. Former Australian cricketer Merv Hughes is the face of the campaign, which has no sales related message – it’s all about the charities, including a mention of priceline.com/sisterhood.


Priceline – Half Yearly Pink Dot sale

Predominantly using a pink that catches the eye, covering six different categories, this advert alerts the reader to sale discounts of between 30 per cent and 60 per cent off. The ad also displays the link priceline.com.au.

Strategic RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by NewsMediaWorks, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. 


On the metric of affinity, Raise $1m (29 per cent) and Pink Dot (37 per cent) significantly outperformed the norm for all newspaper ads where 9 per cent of respondents agreed that the ad gives them a good feeling about the brand. Indeed, both ads outperformed norms on all strategic metrics – that’s with the exception of Raise $1m which met the benchmark of 25 per cent for “Gives me more information about the brand”.

Unsurprisingly, Raise $1m achieved a high 36 per cent agreeing that the ad raises an important issue – Pink Dot trumped on the other five strategic metrics including “Gives me a reason to buy, use or find out more” at 33 per cent and “Gives more information about the brand” at 34 per cent.

  • “It gives me a good feeling about Priceline as it aims to raise one million dollars to help a very good cause” (Raise $1m)
  • “Priceline is not just a pharmacy but is trying to contribute to a cause” (Raise $1m)
  • “Gambling and charity are not a good mix” (Raise $1m)


Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call-to-Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. 


In terms of Action metrics, we see both ads outperforming on a number of benchmarks, most significantly for “Try/Use/Buy the brand” where Pink Dot (23 per cent) and Raise $1m (20 per cent) compared to a norm of 6 per cent.

With a norm of 10 per cent on “Visit a store” both Raised $1m (25 per cent) and Pink Dot (34 per cent) were especially strong.

Raised $1m also significantly outperformed on “Making a phone call” at 9 per cent, while Pink Dot also delivered strongly on “Share the information online”  (8 per cent) and “Tear out and keep” (9 per cent).

  • “I like anything where there is a big discount. 50 per cent is awesome … I would definitely go and visit the store” (Pink Dot)

Brand Perceptions

Both ads performed strongly on the three metrics for brand equity. The chart above shows that Pink Dot again beat the benchmark and Raise $1m on each of them with the exception that Raise $1m (58 per cent) scored higher than Pink Dot (53 per cent) for making the brand seem different from others – indicating that supporting charities and communities would seem a good way to distinguish a brand.

  • “Improves my perception of the brand because it offers more categories than I imagined. The sale offers some good deals” (Pink Dot)

Creative Diagnostics

This NewsMediaWorks’ proprietary newspaper metric, provides a set of creative diagnostics unique to the attributes of newspaper advertising.  It has been developed to help identify areas for improvement where results across other brand and advertising measures may require further analysis and interrogation.

Now looking at the creative diagnostics, Pink Dot delivered significantly above the norm on five out of six key metrics, those being Catches my eye, Looks good, Headline makes me want to read more, Easy to see what’s on offer and Highlights an important feature. Unsurprisingly, the ad met benchmark only for “has a great image”.

  • “It was bright and caught my attention due to the colours and the simple to read font that explained the deals in a simple way” (Pink Dot)
  • “The ad is eye catching and doesn’t have too much information on it. The categories of specials are easy to read and the percentage off is very clear” (Pink Dot)
  • “Gives heaps of information about what’s available, what’s on sale and how much to expect with the discount” (Pink Dot)

Raised $1m performed much like Pink Dot, beating benchmark. However, Raise $1m outscored Pink Dot on Great imagery while underscoring on Easy to see what’s on offer.

  • “The ad is very attention grabbing and keeps you engaged until you have read it all” (Raise $1m)
  • “I think it should focus a lot more sharply on what the charity does” (Raise $1m)


Priceline – Raise $1 million

Eye-catching colours and imagery helped delivery of a message and build the brand. It should be noted that some complained that gambling and charity were not a good mix. However, this ad successfully communicated the fund-raising attempt and the initiative was widely appreciated as indicated by respondent comments and branding related metrics, which performed significantly better than the average for all newspapers. Despite the ad making no attempt to sell specific items, some action metrics also performed well above benchmarks – “Visiting a store”, “Calling to find out more” and “Buying/trying the store” were all above norm.

Priceline – Half Yearly Pink Dot sale

Pinkness rather polarised people on their like of this ad, but success was achieved by eye-catching colours, an appealing headline and a creative that made it easy to see what was on offer. Sales, discounts and prices also provide additional interest and engagement – this Priceline ad was no exception. Advertising a diverse range of categories was one way in which the advertiser outperformed benchmarks for all brand equity and affinity metrics. However the ad was also strong on call-to-action metrics – especially “Visiting a store”, “Buying/trying the store”, “Sharing it online” and “Tearing it out to keep it”.


Notes on sources: 

Research conducted online by Ipsos Connect. Fieldwork conducted July 2018. Sample aged 18+, based in Sydney, n = 103 for Priceline Sale; based in Melbourne for Priceline Charity. Significance tests conducted at 90 per cent confidence level.

Full details of methodology, Role Map and Action Map available on www.newsmediaworks.com.au.

Ads sourced from Savvy Media Monitoring (www.savvymm.com).



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