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Print ads work hard for local retailers

With the right creative, brands can use regional newspapers to attract shoppers to their nearest store and improve brand perceptions at a community level.

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We put two print ads from a local newspaper under the ADvance microscope – one for international furniture retailer IKEA and one for local business The Plant Organic Café and Market.
Both ads were published in September 2014 in The South Western Times, a regional newspaper in Western Australia.

Take Outs

  • IKEA’s print ad design is inspiring. They use visuals to gain cut through, with bright colours framed against a clear backdrop.
  • An ad for The Plant shows simple, targeted newspaper ads build affinity and trial for small businesses as well as large ones.
  • Making call-to-action information clear to readers is key to in-store visitation and sales.


IKEA are masters at producing eye-catching ads that incorporate the right balance of colour, space and information. This ad positively impacts perceptions of the brand as well as attracting local shoppers in-store. It includes just the right amount of detail to drive store visits or direct interested shoppers online for more information.

The Plant Organic Café and Market use a simple execution to great effect. This ad is effective in growing awareness of the store in their target area. It combines visual cues with minimal text to deliver all the necessary information to entice customers in-store.

IKEA Execution

IKEA is adept at supporting national campaigns with targeted local newspaper advertising.



The ad promotes the sale of bedroom furniture at IKEA depots in the West Australian centres of Bunbury and Busselton and offers a free delivery service to shoppers in these areas.

The Plant Café & Market Execution

The Plant, a café & market based in Bunbury WA, published this simple retail ad promoting their organic goods.



Strategic RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by The Newspaper Works, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. For more information on this map, click here.



This IKEA ad performed well above the norm across two of the six strategic roles of newspaper advertising by driving brand affinity and encouraging (Re)Appraisal.

Affinity with IKEA increased for 31% of respondents, with the ad giving them a good feeling about the brand.

“I don’t like paying for delivery so it’s improved my opinion of IKEA a lot.”

Brand (Re)Appraisal is the result of advertising that surprises and challenges people by presenting the brand or an issue in an unexpected way. Telling readers about important benefits can prompt them to think differently about a brand. Discovering IKEA delivers furniture for free, saving customers time and effort, resulted in many readers thinking differently about IKEA.. One in five consumers (21%) who viewed the ad said it encouraged them to think differently about IKEA.

“I didn’t know that delivery is free from the Bunbury IKEA. That’s great – I avoided that store because I’ve no way of bringing the furniture home.”

The Plant execution performed excellently at providing respondents with new information and attracting them in-store, showing that newspapers work as well for small brands as they do for large ones.  The Plant ad had lower recognition than the IKEA ad (13% vs 22%). This is common with smaller brands that generally advertise less than large ones. Despite this the overall impact on readers was similar, with a 52 percent improvement in familiarity and and understanding of The Plant Café and Market, and a 44 percent increase in brand affinity.

The execution also performed excellently in encouraging action. One in four said the ad gave them a reason to visit the café in the near future.

“The café looks interesting – I think I’ll check it out.”


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. For more information on ActionMap, click here.


One in five who saw the IKEA ad said it gave them a reason to take action.One in four (25%) said they would visit one of the stores advertised, and a slightly higher percentage (28%) said they would go online for further information. The intention to search online is almost three times the norm, with the website prominently featured in the ad.

The prominent feature of online information combined with the offer of free delivery encouraged 30% of readers to go online for further information.

“The delivery website is really easy to spot.”

The Plant ad also encouraged visitation as well as memorability. One in five respondents said they would visit the café/store with a further 20% saying they would remember the business for the future.

“Never heard of it before but I would like to try it next time I’m in Bunbury.”

Brand Equity


Both ads significantly boosted brand equity. Two in five respondents said the IKEA ad improved their overall understanding of the retailer while one in two (53%) said The Plant ad differentiates it from similar businesses.

Creative Diagnostics


Both ads scores well above the newspaper ad average across a number of creative diagnostic measures. Respondents liked the look of both ads. One reader said of The Plant execution:

“I like the design of the ad, it fitted well with what it is advertising, it was clear, easy to read and informative.”

Many respondents were complimentary of IKEA’s general approach to print ads:

“They tend to be very clean and fresh. It’s simple but has a sense of elegance to it. A lot of similar ads by similar stores are tacky or too loud or try to do too much. IKEA seem to have it just right.”



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