Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


Mackay And Whitsunday Life Scoop State Awards

By Amanda Wright

The advertisement which launched a regional newspaper into the international spotlight has once again been acknowledged as an industry game-changer for its ability to spark conversation towards the enduring power of print media.

The ‘Jenny and Steve’ advertisement for Best Marketing Campaign was one of four awards scooped up by this very publication, Mackay and Whitsunday Life, at the 2023 Queensland Country Press Association (QCPA) awards and conference in Brisbane last week.

Showcasing its talent across all forms of print media, Mackay and Whitsunday Life was recognised for unique marketing capabilities, an excellence in delivering newspaper features, talent in advertisement design and its ability to keep the region informed and engaged with quality editorial content.

Owner and Publisher, Rebecca Douthwaite, said it was humbling to be recognised as a leading regional newspaper in what is only the second year of being in print for Mackay and Whitsunday Life.

“Delivering news without barriers so everyone in the community can stay informed has been at the heart of our publication since its inception,” Mrs Douthwaite said.

“We said we’d be ‘free and always will be’ and we’ve honoured that promise.

“It was an incredible feeling to be recognised for what we have achieved this past year, which is a testament to our team who strive daily to deliver news that people genuinely want to read.”

Mackay and Whitsunday Life Rewrite The Newspaper Narrative

Mackay and Whitsunday Life took home four state awards last week, recognised at the annual Queensland Country Press Association (QCPA) awards and conference held in Brisbane.

A star-studded affair, the conference was opened by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk who emphasised the importance of regional newspapers in keeping a wider audience informed. Olympic swimmer Julie McDonald OAM delivered an inspirational speech on what it takes to reach the top, and attendees were left in stitches with the hilarious comedian, Dave O’Neil, as the MC of the awards dinner.

Thinking outside of the box and taking risks is the key to success of any advertising campaign. Mackay and Whitsunday Life was awarded gold in the Best Marketing Campaign for printing the infamous ‘Jenny and Steve’ advertisement. Award judges said it set a new benchmark for the way regional and community newspapers should market themselves.

“Mackay Life was a great example of how this risk taking can have huge rewards and help a campaign exceed even the highest expectations,” the judges’ comments read.

“A standout campaign that combines great, innovative creative with simple execution. A real game changer.”

Whitsunday Life scooped silver for the ‘Best Newspaper Feature’ with its Great Barrier Reef Festival advertising extravaganza, with judges saying it was “eye catching and fun”.

“The front cover of this feature really caught my eye,” the judge said.

“Stories were very informative. Highlighting each event gave me a great insight into the festival. A lovely feature supported by nicely designed advertising.”

Mackay Life was recognised for editorial excellence with a bronze award for its Homelessness feature, saying the campaign had a clear aim, to connect homeless people to services that can support them.

“It comprised a good mix of stories, including those that presented personal insights that humanised the issue,” the judging comments read.

Lastly, the design team was recognised with a bronze for the Best Locally Produced Advertisement, for a Mother’s Day ad designed for Karen Hill Floral Design.

The QCPA conference and awards night broke several records including receiving the most nominations for awards ever.  Delegates travelled from across regional Queensland and from all eastern states to attend, including Mareeba in far north Queensland, Dubbo and Narrabri in central NSW, Gippsland in Victoria and the Barossa and Clare Valleys of South Australia.

Mackay and Whitsunday Life won four awards at the Queensland Country Press Association (QCPA) awards and conference, including a gold award for best marketing campaign. L-R: Journalist, Sam Gillespie, Mackay Editor, Amanda Wright, Owner and Publisher, Rebecca Douthwaite, Advertising Sales Manager, Mike McCann, Whitsunday Editor, Rachael Smith, Owner, Paul Douthwaite. Photo credit: Demie Wigham

Comedian Dave O’Neil was the MC for the Queensland Country Press Association (QCPA) awards and conference

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