The Press

A tongue-in-cheek thesis delivered high brow results.


The Press is Christchurch’s daily newspaper and is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s best quality newspapers. It should be daily reading for any intelligent person. Christchurch is also home to the University of Canterbury, with some 12,000 students, who would surely benefit from reading a daily paper.


Based on the hypothesis that if students weren’t currently reading The Press, then they must be reading tabloid junk instead, The Press sent 827 University of Canterbury PHD students an impactful mailing timed to land when they were meant to be writing their thesis.

The target list was sent exactly the sort of thesis they might have to write if they didn’t take a broader interest in the world and only took their knowledge from stories about Hollywood and show business.

Landing on their doormats with a thud was a small, hardback book with the title ‘Brad and Jen. What went wrong. A thesis by Sam Semple’. Inside was an in depth analysis of what went wrong in their marriage.

The accompanying letter explained that they would be much smarter if they started reading The Press. They were offered a deal that they would be crazy not to accept.


The highbrow campaign generated 364 12-month subscriptions and 62 three-month subscriptions, a 50% response rate. The total ROI was 463%.

Keep up to date

Don’t miss out on the latest news, research and creative inspiration. We’ll let you know as soon as new guides, reports and other resources are available.

You must provide your first name
You must provide your last name

Royal Mail Group would like to keep in touch with you about our products, services and offers that might interest you. By clicking submit below you acknowledge that we may contact you by post, telephone, email and text message. If you DO NOT want to hear from us by any or all of these means, please tick the relevant box(es) below:

We may contact you by post
we may contact you by telephone
we may contact you by email
we may contact you by SMS
We may, on occasion, still need to send you important service messages. Royal Mail Group takes your privacy and security very seriously. For more details please read our Privacy Policy.