Readers of Britain's regional press, accustomed to a diet of display ads for local retailers, services and events, will shortly be wooed by an influx of ads for leading Unilever consumer brands, among them Persil (Omo outside the UK) laundry products, quirky Marmite spread, Impulse and Sure (Rexona ex-UK) deodorants, and PG Tips teabags.

Hitherto TV was the favoured hunting ground for consumer eyeballs but in the wake of the Newspaper Society’s Conversion Study, which argues a strong statistical case for the regional press as an advertising force, major marketers like Unilever and Johnson & Johnson have begun to invest heavily in the medium.

In a deal negotiated between Interpublic’s Initiative Media and Trinity Mirror unit AMRA with Northcliffe Newspapers, Unilever has already booked twenty-six full-page ads in 38 daily regional titles to run throughout the forthcoming eighteen months. In addition to the two groups named, other beneficiaries are Midland News Association, Guardian Media Group and the Irish News.

Says Newspaper Society marketing director Russell Collier: “I think it is fair to say that if a major FMCG advertiser like Unilever, who has thoroughly investigated the medium, is satisfied that regional press can deliver, then others should be sitting up and taking notice.”

Data sourced from: Media Week (UK); additional content by WARC staff