Great Idea Award winners show off their creativity at INK+BEYOND

From rescuing zoo animals to an annual Thanksgiving food drive, publications from across the country came together at the annual INK+BEYOND newspaper conference to share their award-winning marketing and promotional strategies. Representatives from community and daily newspapers were invited to speak about their creative revenue-generating initiatives during a special Great Idea Awards workshop on Thursday, May 29.

Calgary Herald

Monica Zurowski of the Calgary Herald spoke about her papers special edition Miracle on the Bow which focused on the Calgary Zoo during the devastating floods that hit Southern Alberta in 2013. The story of the zoo was largely unknown until the paper released a glossy magazine capturing the stories of the heroic efforts by the zoo staff to evacuate the animals and moving them to higher ground.

The magazine also featured user generated content in the form of kids’ artwork as part of a campaign to help rebuild the zoo. There was also a webpage with an interactive map, video, twitter feed, photo galleries and blogs.It was a true team effort involving many different departments, said Zurowski.“It involved many, many players and I think that was one of the keys to success when it came to this great idea.”

La Liberte

When La Liberte in St-Boniface, Manitoba wanted to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their paper last year, they came up with an advertising campaign that would engage their readers. Sophie Gaulin (pictured) of La Liberte said it was an important milestone the paper wanted to celebrate with the local area by creating an entire experience for the community.The paper came up with eight projects and events that included a gala, a conference, a neighbourhood party and the launch of a new website with a digital archive dating back to 1913.

One month prior to the festivities the paper designed a 24 page special section describing all the events scheduled for the three day celebration. The section was entirely sponsored by advertising and was the top prize winner in the newspaper marketing and promotion at the 2014 Great Idea Awards. Readers truly felt really engaged in the anniversary and the paper managed to raise almost half a million dollars in sponsorship and funding in two months, said Gaulin, adding it also displayed how important the paper was to the community.

Aylmer Express

Renee Hueston of the Aylmer Express, an Ontario community paper, is the fourth-generation of a newspaper family. The paper runs an annual food drive that begins two weeks before Thanksgiving with paper bags inserted in the newspaper. The program is promoted to the community through the paper’s print and online materials. All of the staff is involved; from reporters covering the campaign to ad sales reps going out to local businesses to the delivery drivers who pick up the donations. The campaign benefits both the community and the newspaper by stocking shelves at the food bank and helping strengthen the reputation of the newspaper within the community, said Hueston.

Hamilton Spectator

To celebrate the War of 1812, the Hamilton Spectator engaged the reader with a multi-media experience. Susan Azzopardi said the paper produced 10 videos in partnership with the City of Hamilton tourism department as part of a trivia contest. They ran print ads for 10 days and used Layar augmentation reality technology to give print readers a new and exciting experience.The paper also produced a 24-page broadsheet highlighting events scheduled for the celebration and the sect