News Corp recruits Dame Edna and Sir Les Patterson to spruik tablet app for metro papers

News Corp has recruited comedian Barry Humphries to use his alter egos and “living national treasures” Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson to spruik the tablet apps for its metro papers.

While Sir Les tries to push his “well-informed image” the ads also feature a cameo by model and Myer ambassador Jennifer Hawkins, highlighting his sleazier side, with Dame Edna bailing him out of some embarrassing situations.

Created by Archibald Willaims the two-minute film sees the duo using the tablet and mobile editions of The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail and The Advertiser in a variety of different situations to highlight their features, including crosswords and sudoku. Humphries also pops up at the end of the spot.

Speaking to Mumbrella News Corp Australia managing director metro and regional publishing Damian Eales described the duo as “living national treasures in Australia”, adding the app was important as people who used it spent more time on site.

Dame Edna and Sir Les News Corp“They’re recognised by such a broad spectrum of Australian society and they’re celebrated by that same group of people,” he said.

“Incorporating them into our campaign just made a lot of sense because we know they’ll get cut through, they’re engaging and they’ll do a great job of bringing to life the features and benefits of our tablet editions of our metro mastheads.”

Explaining the choice to throw in Hawkins, Eales denied it was an effort to target a different audience.

“We did some qualitative research in terms of Dame Edna and Sir Les and we found they were both recognised and appealed to a broad age groups and communities within Australia,” he said.

“We incorporated Jen into the mix because we thought it added great humour and there’s nothing like throwing in a great cameo into something like this.”

The campaign is running across social, digital, TV and print targeted at the main metro centres of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide for 8 weeks starting from Sunday September 27.



Eales said pushing the metro masthead’s tablet and mobile apps is important “because the consumers who have already subscribed and started using our tablet app…have a much higher engagement in terms of time spent with us and they also have a far higher retention rate”.

“We know that the apps are highly valued. We see it, unlike websites or social news posts, when you consume our daily tablet or mobile edition, you’re covering all the news of the days, not just the tid-bits you might snack on throughout the day,” he said.

“We know that our customer values that but we also know that not all our customers have trialled that or been exposed to the rich and immersive experience those apps can provide. We want to bring it to their attention, we want existing customers to trial these apps and we want to get new customers who don’t currently have a subscription relationship with us to see the value of the app and take up a subscription with us.”

Eales is confident the campaign will drive acquisitions however confirmed the company will continue to refuse release digital subscription data for the Daily Telegraph, Courier Mail and The Advertiser. It does release subscription data for The Herald Sun.

“We don’t release those three and we have no intention to release those at this point of time,” he said.

Dame Edna News Corp“This [campaign] will drive acquisitions and we’ve had some significant growth in our business in recent years across all of our mastheads. A lot of our more recent growth, particularly in the more mature portfolios like The Herald Sun, the new tablet edition we’ve seen it significantly increase the base of that portfolio. We believe it will do the same right across the board in our business.

“Importantly, not only do we think this will drive acquisitions, but it also drives retention of existing customers because it adds so much value to their subscriptions,” he added.

According to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, The Herald Sun saw its weekday digital subs on the paper grow by 18.5 per cent year on year, while digital subs to the Saturday edition were up by 19.3 per cent with the Sunday Herald Sun up by 19.7 per cent.

When asked why News Corp is not releasing subscription data for the other mastheads Eales said “we just don’t feel it’s the right time and when we do we will,” adding they “haven’t announced a date” to do so.

Miranda Ward

Campaign credits:

Archibald / Williams team:

Executive Creative Director: Matt Gilmour

Producers: Christina Wilmot, Liz Nunan

Creative Director: Jonny Browne

Producers: Christina Wilmot, Liz Noonan

Managing Director: Chris Yong

Group Account Director: Belinda Palmano

Account Executive: Sarah Hughes

Account Manager: Geraldine O’Donnell

Creative Technologist: Ahmed Meer

Production Company: Moth

Director: Michael Gracey

Executive Producer: Jonathon Samway, Nerissa Kavanagh

Producer: Kate Rule

Post Production: Blackbird

VFX Supervisor: Nick Ponzoni

Blackbird Producer: Bonnie Wilkinson-Smith


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