Media Release: Business leaders back Scottish newspapers

SNS campaign

THE Scottish newspaper industry remains a key means of communication, according to leading Scottish business figures, including property tycoon, Donald J Trump, and retail boss, Anne Ledgerwood.

A new campaign launched today by the Scottish Newspaper Society (SNS) highlights the importance of news brands  – in print, online and mobile  – in the commercial strategies of organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Marking 100 years since the foundation of the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society, which amalgamated with the Scottish Newspaper Publishers Association in 2009 to form the SNS, chief executives, managing directors and marketing directors have recognised the increasingly multi-platform readership of newspaper brands by putting their names to the campaign.

SNS director, John McLellan, said: “Newspapers understand their readers who in turn place a great amount of trust in our publications to reflect their values and act in their interests. The modern era of digital communication has enabled that relationship to combine the best of journalistic rigour with a new, instant and transparent conversation.

“For readers, it means a far greater sense of ownership than was ever possible in the past and for our commercial partners it adds up to a compelling way to reach customers in a way few other platforms can surpass.

“This campaign is a recognition of the irreplaceable contribution newspapers in Scotland make to business and society, and we’re very proud to have such a distinguished list of supporters.”

The Scottish media industry contributes £1.2 billion to the Scottish economy, with around £770m (64 per cent) of that coming from the newspaper and publishing industry[i]. A report from Ebiquity in 2014 found that press advertisers earned £1.48 for every £1 spent[ii].

According to a recent YouGov report, 54 per cent of UK Twitter users aged 25 to 44 follow news brands[iii]. The findings also revealed that users in the UK who follow news brands on Twitter are more active online, generally more affluent, and tend towards ‘portfolio readership’ where they gather news from multiple news brands. The implications for advertisers are that a variety and multiplicity of brand or product placements are needed to reach this audience.

SNS director, John McLellan, added: “There has never been a better opportunity for news brands to speak directly to readers and involve them in the news agenda. Readership patterns and trends are changing; newspapers are evolving their business models and offering new ways for readers to connect with them online and via mobile and tablet technology.

“Our message to readers is that our publications are as important now as they were 100 years ago; and to businesses that our brands deliver measurable bang for their bucks.”

Anne Ledgerwood, general manager of St Enoch Centre in Glasgow, said: “As a business which needs to connect directly with both a local and regional audience, we know the value of newspapers and newspaper advertising. The papers we have worked with have consistently demonstrated excellent return on investment for us.

“We’re proud to be supporting a campaign which highlights the important role that newspapers play in promoting Scottish business.”

Alasdair Houston, executive chair of Gretna Green Ltd, a large tourism, farming and hospitality business, said: “The link between a local business such as ours based in the community and the local newspaper is important.

“Over many years now, we have found the Dumfriesshire Newspaper Group (DNG Media / Annandale Observer) to be supportive and positive. Whether it be a news story, advertising or a recruitment campaign, I would encourage regional businesses to collaborate and co-operate with their local publication.

“It is good for both. Over the years, Gretna Green has generated a lot of positive publicity for our region and the Annandale Observer and its sister newspapers have played their full part.

“In this day and age of social media, it’s still nice to sit down with the local newspaper and see what’s going on in the area.”

Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland, said: “Our 19,000 Scottish members do business across the length and breadth of the country. They know how important newspapers are to both local communities and economies. From Stranraer to Stornoway, Scottish small businesses back the newspaper industry and local journalism.”

Atholl Duncan, executive director, UK and Global at ICAS, said: “A rigorous, challenging Scottish press is essential to the democratic pulse of public life in Scotland. Well-resourced, quality journalism, calling our leaders and organisations to account, is essential for the greater good of society. Without that, we would be democratically weakened and intellectually impoverished.”

Bill Munro, chair of Barrhead Travel, said: “Scottish newspapers remain a key distribution channel for delivering Barrhead Travel’s messages to existing and prospective customers. The diverse range of publications in Scotland is essential in order for the public to have access, on or offline, to different viewpoints on local and international events, as well as marketing messages from companies such as ours.”

Dominic McKay, director of commercial operations, communications and public affairs at Scottish Rugby, said: “As rugby’s popularity continues to grow in Scotland, it is vital we engage with traditional and new audiences, across a range of platforms, and working with Scottish newspapers is a key component of our communications strategy. The country’s print media offers valuable editorial and commercial opportunities and will continue to help Scottish Rugby deliver its key messages for many years to come.”

Donald J Trump, owner and president of The Trump Organisation, said: “I’ve had my battles with the Scottish press and seen my fair share of tough headlines, but the impact of advertising in the Scottish media – particularly The Press and Journal and Evening Express – can’t be underestimated.

“When we advertise my five-star hotel, restaurant and the world’s finest golf course in Aberdeenshire, people respond immediately. It’s a totally efficient and effective way to gain business.”

Eddie Hawthorn, group MD at Arnold Clark, said: “Arnold Clark has for over 60 years successfully retailed vehicles to the Scottish public. A large part of this success has been the ability of our Scottish media partners to allow us to reach and connect with our customers, both regionally and nationally. As a tried and tested business strategy, I see the use of the Scottish media, particularly press advertising, continuing well into the foreseeable future.”

Iain MacRitchie, philanthropist and CEO of MCR Holdings, said: “There are many exciting online and multimedia communication opportunities across a proliferation of devices.  However, there really is no substitute for quality and considered content from experienced and insightful newsprint journalists.

“I have seen the significant positive impact of newspaper coverage in both my business and Foundation activities. Recent coverage by The Herald of our campaign to recruit mentors for the most disadvantaged young people in Glasgow has generated fantastic results. This is entirely down to the impact of the newspaper and its relationship with and engagement of its readers. We have been overwhelmed with the response and enthusiasm generated from the quality of content generated.  The impact was immediate, comprehensive and sustained. I am an even more passionate advocate of quality journalism and the pivotal role of the newspaper industry.”

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower’s chief corporate officer, said: “Growing up in Scotland it was recognised that your paper of choice was as important as your football team of choice – and similarly it will have been an important part of your family for generations. Scotland has a rich heritage of nurturing quality journalists, delivering hard-hitting journalism, and creating some of the most respected news outlets anywhere in the world.

“Scotland continues to have a very strong media industry, and is leading the way in innovation and developing new ways of delivering quality journalism in to homes up and down the country.”

Keith M Miller, group chief executive at The Miller Group, said: “We Scots should be proud of our newspapers. We have a long tradition of the highest quality of journalism. For centuries, we have depended on our Scottish national and regional press, and now our need for independent and impartial news and commentary has never been greater.”

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “Aberdeen Asset Management is a truly global player when it comes to investments and our brand is recognised from Singapore to San Francisco, but we never take for granted our Scottish roots.

“Scottish newspapers play a vital part in reinforcing our message about our focus on asset management and helping to drive recognition of our brand. I’m a proud and loyal supporter of the vibrant and buoyant Scottish newspaper industry.”

Mike Brown, managing partner at accountancy firm Anderson Anderson & Brown, said: “It’s easy to get lost in the digital world and think that focusing on marketing activity in this area alone is the way forward, but, from a brand awareness perspective, press cannot be left behind. At AAB, although we have clients across the globe, we are based in Aberdeen and know that in our region the high quality newspapers, both print and online, are seen as the central source of local news relevant to people’s lives and businesses.

“Appearing in the Scottish press, whether that be advertising our brand and key messages, or advising of topical issues and developments in an article, is a fundamental part of our marketing plan and will continue to play this vital role in reinforcing our messages.”

Professor David Thomson, who has led the £10.5 million restoration of Annandale Distillery, near Annan, said: “Our local newspaper, the Annandale Observer, undoubtedly created widespread awareness in the area of our major restoration of the for many years derelict Annandale Distillery. The newspaper and its sister titles’ coverage continued as the project progressed and we enjoyed tremendous, wholehearted support from local tradesmen who worked in concert to meet the opening deadline, almost as if it was their own distillery.

“Hundreds of local people flocked to our opening event, for which we placed an advertisement in the Observer group and which was also previewed in the news columns.

“Local people are now the backbone of our business, acting as customers and ambassadors. This is the power of local awareness!” 

Stewart Milne, chair of Stewart Milne Group, said: “With online seemingly taking hold of the way we buy products, it’s easy to think moving your marketing budget to a digital or online platform will generate better results than more traditional media. But, a fully integrated media plan that includes press is the only true way to generate maximum results from a campaign.

“Press is the lynchpin. Despite the global appeal of online, consumers, business decision makers and job seekers all depend on newspapers for a local or regional angle relevant to their lives and businesses.

“From an advertiser’s perspective, press provides a flexible partnering opportunity that you can’t develop with online providers. For example, The Press and Journal works with us to understand our business needs and then develops opportunities and solutions specifically to meet those goals. It’s a long-term partnership that’s an important part of our advertising strategy.”

Business leaders who are backing the SNS campaign are listed below.

Alasdair Houston Executive Chairman Gretna Green Ltd
Alistair Moffat Director Scotland’s DNA
Andrew Chalmers Managing Partner Davidson Chalmers
Andy Willox Scottish policy convenor Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland
Anne Clyde Regional Manager UK Steel Enterprise
Anne Ledgerwood General Manager St. Enoch Centre
Atholl Duncan Executive Director, UK and Global ICAS
Bill Munro Chairman Barrhead Travel
Brendan Dick Director BT
Cahal Dowds Vice-chairman Deloitte UK
Chris van der Kuyl Chairman 4J
David Borthwick National Account Controller Glen Turner Distillery Ltd
David Doig CEO OPITO
David Lonsdale Director Scottish Retail Consortium
David Melvin Managing Director Cordia
David Smith Managing Partner Henderson Logie Dundee
Dean Hunter Managing Director Hunter Adams
Debbie Houston Managing Director Dales Cycles
Dominic McKay Director Commercial, Marketing and Communications Scottish Rugby Union
Donald J Trump Owner The Trump Organisation
Douglas Craig Managing Director Craig Group
Douglas McCrea Managing Director McCrea Financial Services
Eddie Hawthorne Group MD Arnold Clark
Eric Hagman Chairman Matthew Algie and Company Ltd
Gordon Merrylees Head of Entrepreneurship, RBS and NatWest The Royal Bank of Scotland
Iain MacRitchie CEO MCR Holdings
Innes Smith Managing Director Springfield Properties Plc
Jack Robertson Chairman Thorntons Law LLP
Jacqueline Law Managing Partner Aberdein Considine
Jamie Livingston Director Livingston James Group
John McDonough Director Speyside Distillers Company Ltd
John Reid General Manager and Director Michelin Tyres
Katherine Garrett-Cox CBE Chief Executive Alliance Trust PLC
Keith Anderson Chief Corporate Officer ScottishPower
Keith M Miller Group Chief Executive Miller Group
Ken Barclay Chairman, Scotland The Royal Bank of Scotland
Lesley Eccles Co-Founder & Marketing Director FanDuel
Lesley Knox Chairman V&A Dundee
Liz Cameron Director/Chief Executive Scottish Chambers of Commerce Limited
Malcolm McNaught Director of External Relations The Glasgow Academy
Marc Taylor Director/Owner Tay Letting Ltd
Martin Gilbert Chief Executive Aberdeen Asset Management
Martin Sime CEO SCVO
Mike Brown Managing Partner Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP
Niall MacDonald Managing Director Tullis Russell
Professor David Thomson Founder and CEO MMR Group
Richard Ellison General Manager Doubletree By Hilton
Robert Collier CEO Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce
Robert Stephen MD Celebrations of Turriff
Robin Kiely Head of Communications Ryanair
Ryan Currie Marketing Manager Buchanan Bespoke
Ryan James Managing Director Two Fat Ladies
Scott Black Director FWB Park Brown Ltd
Scott Whyte Managing Director Watermans Accident Claims and Care
Simon Brown Partner and Head of Corporate Anderson Strathern LLP
Simon Pengelley Rector Morrisons Academy
Simon Rettie Chief Executive Rettie + Company
Sir Angus Grossart Chairman Noble Grossart
Sir Tom Farmer Director Maidencraig Investments Limited
Stephen Flynn Vice-chairman Glasgow Taxis Ltd
Stephen Gibb CEO Shepherd & Wedderburn
Stephen Ingledew Managing Director, Customer & Marketing Standard Life
Stephen McNaughton Managing Director Origin RPM Limited
Stewart Milne Executive chairman Stewart Milne Group
Stuart Patrick Chief Executive Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
Usman Khushi Director Trespass


Issued by The BIG Partnership on behalf of the Scottish Newspaper Society. For interviews or more information please contact Candy Watermeyer or Bryan Garvie on 0141 333 9585 or

Notes to editors

The Scottish Newspaper Society is the membership body for newspapers in Scotland. Its membership includes small and large independent Scottish publishers and the publishers of major Scottish editions of UK national papers. Its principal aims are to promote and safeguard the interests of the newspaper publishing industry in Scotland, to maintain press freedom, and to improve the profile of the newspaper publishing industry in Scotland. More information can be found at

Statistical data taken from:

[1] The economic contribution of the media sector in Glasgow, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (April 2014)

[1] Newsbrands: Why advertise in newsbrands?

[1] Newsbrands: #NewsOnTheTweet2014 (Jan 2014)

For more information on multi-platform readership trends, please visit 


[i] The economic contribution of the media sector in Glasgow, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (April 2014)

[ii] Newsbrands: Why advertise in newsbrands?

[iii] Newsbrands: #NewsOnTheTweet2014 (Jan 2014)

For more information on multi-platform readership trends, please visit

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