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Guardian News & Media Ad Campaign Marks New January Marketing Direction

January 11, 2013

Guardian News & Media (GNM) is for the first time launching a January advertising campaign to champion its weekend newspapers.

The tongue-in-cheek campaign, entitled ‘Own the Weekend’, will form a major part of GNM’s 2013 marketing strategy, and marks a new, bold direction for the Guardian’s January marketing approach which has, in previous years, focused primarily on promotional giveaways.

The campaign, which has been devised by award-winning creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), will consist of a series of outdoor, press and digital ads, as well as a three-minute film fronted by Hugh Grant. Grant was not paid for his involvement in the campaign.

The film - directed by Tim Godsall and produced by Biscuit Films - is a pastiche of a Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster trailer and communicates the campaign message of ‘owning the weekend’ through a series of spoof scenes. The three-minute film will run in its entirety on digital channels ( and YouTube), and will be shown as 60 and 30 second cut-downs in cinemas throughout January and on Video on Demand.

‘Own the Weekend’ will take a sideways look at weekends, with the satirical premise behind the new campaign being the Saturday Guardian and The Observer produce such exciting, varied and rich editorial content that the newspapers effectively ‘own the weekend’. This concept will be communicated via a variety of media which will all include the strapline ‘We Own the Weekend’, and will feature established Guardian weekend editorial supplements, including: ‘Review’, ‘Weekend’, ‘Observer Food Monthly’ ‘New Review’, ‘Observer Magazine’ and ‘Guide’, as well as highlighting the launch of a new weekly section, ‘Cook’.

Cook is a brand new 16-page g2-sized supplement which will be packed full with quick and easy recipes, and will bring together a range of regular food and drink features. Cook will come free with Saturday Guardian, and will feature in the Guardian and Observer iPad edition and Guardian Kindle edition, starting from 12 January.

The campaign will be supported by promotional activity including nationwide sampling of Saturday Guardian and The Observer content including highlights from ‘Cook’ and social media activity promoting ‘Own the Weekend’ on Twitter and Facebook, and continues GNM’s new bold and innovative approach to marketing following 2012’s ‘The Whole Picture’ campaign, also created by BBH. The Whole Picture was one of the industry’s most successful brand campaigns last year, winning a string of awards including a series of prestigious Gold and Silver Lions at Cannes, a gold in the Film category at Campaign’s Big Awards and 'Ad of the Year' at the Adweek awards.

David Pemsel, Chief Commercial Officer, Guardian News & Media, “We wanted to continue last year’s marketing successes by experimenting with a new, bold approach to January marketing in 2013. We're delighted to have Hugh Grant on board, helping us create a fun and irreverent style which taps into the spirit of our weekend papers. By championing the award-winning editorial content produced in Saturday Guardian and The Observer each week, we believe the new campaign promotes our newspapers as the very best that the weekend has to offer.”

David Kolbusz, Deputy Executive Creative Director, BBH London, said: "The Guardian is not a particularly shouty brand and yet we had to find a way to send a message - loud and clear - about the superiority of their weekend offering. Satire proved to be the best avenue for undertaking this Herculean effort. Hopefully we've managed to create a piece of communication that is as informative as it is entertaining."
Guardian News & Media (GNM) is for the first time launching a January advertising campaign to champion its weekend newspapers.

To promote the launch of Cook, the Guardian is also launching a competition to find ‘Guardian home cook of the year’. Please find further information on Cook here. Further information on Cook can be found here.

About the brand campaign
The 180 second-long video premiered online on and YouTube on Thursday 10 January . The video will be available on 40D on Friday 11 January.

A 60 second-long video will premiere in cinemas on Friday 18 January and will be shown throughout January. The advert was filmed by Biscuit Filmworks and directed by Tim Godsall.

Outdoor advertisements will feature on digital escalator panels and LCDs in key London underground and mainline stations. Press advertisements will run in the Guardian and The Observer. The bought media has been handled by PHD, the media buying agency that won Campaign’s Media Agency of the Year, 2011.

Hugh Grant was not paid for his involvement in the campaign.


  • Title: Own the Weekend
  • Brand: The Guardian & Observer Weekend