Following Media Week's piece on the lack of flexibility from national newspapers (Newspapers 'failing to be flexible', November 21, page 1), there is no question that national titles could - and should - offer advertisers higher levels of creativity and flexibility.
Our own experience at Metro International has proved conclusively that all parties - publisher, client and reader alike - can benefit from smart ideas, well executed.
The lost opportunity cannot be underestimated, given the ever-increasing number of "creative briefs" we are asked to respond to.
The joy of delivering a newspaper solution is the immediacy and relatively low production cost of the medium, both of which allow truly dynamic campaigns.
International urban free newspapers, such as Metro International's 29 editions globally, and the London edition of Metro published by Associated Newspapers, have led the way in the daily sector.
"Ah, but it's different for freesheets," the traditional sector claims. The counter argument is that we equally have to protect our core editorial values and high levels of readership to ensure 100% of our titles are avidly sought each morning.
In September, British Airways "took over" editions of Metro in several European cities as part of a huge marketing campaign to aggressively fight back against low-cost carriers in Europe.
The objective behind the idea was to position BA as the first choice airline to London under the banner "London is Closer Than You Think".
At Metro, we created a complete solution, stretching across print, online and street marketing, even creating a new format specifically for the client - a "flip cover", Londonthemed newspaper, providing great reasons to fly to London - and clearly funded by BA.
Throughout the week, our editions ran full-page features on London - shopping, fashion, culture, food and attractions.
Local weather forecasts were supplemented with London information.
Our crossword was Londonthemed.
Regular sport and entertainment features carried extra information about the London scene. Readers were invited to enter an online competition to win city breaks with BA Holidays, and our hand distributors were dressed as London icons.
The results? Delighted client.
Delighted readers. Delighted editors. Delighted sales director.
Come on nationals - this is a wake-up call.
Greg Miall International account director Metro International
This article was first published on Media Week