SENDING A MESSAGE: News publishers create their own identities through powerful marketing campaigns.

Author:Mateos, Evelyn
 
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Turn on the television. Pick up a magazine. Scroll through your Twitter feed. Chances are, you're being inundated with hundreds of marketing campaigns. But news publishers are only producing a fraction of those, and as an industry, we need to do better.

We can't allow individuals to dictate our identity as "fake news." We can't let headlines be flooded with news about layoffs and closures. We must step up and share with our readers--and even our critics--the good work being done in newsrooms around the country. If we don't communicate the efficiency and power of journalism, who will?

E&P spoke with various news publishers about their recent marketing campaigns and found what happened when they took matters into their own hands.

Read Yourself Better, Wall Street Journal

In world fall of noise, the Wall Street Journal chose to call out the issue that digital overload might be hindering an individual's ability to understand important subjects and issues in its latest campaign, Read Yourself Better.

The campaign launched last November with a 90-second spot directed by Juan Cabral. The film depicts intriguing--and at times--odd images of individuals going about their day with interruptions from text messages, memes, pop-up advertisements and more. Aside from the film, the campaign consists of home, online video, social media, print and display advertising. The Journal also had a mural commissioned in Brooklyn that depicts the same themes as the film.

For a short time, the Journal had a pop-up vending machine which allowed spectators to trade in a piece of printed media for a copy of the newspaper or they could unlock the website with near-field technology as they walked up to the vending machine. While the machine has since been put away, Paul Plumeri, vice president of global marketing, said it could make a return in the future.

The&Partnership agency--a longtime collaborator with the Journal--helped get the campaign off the ground. In early 2019, the Journal and the agency began talks about creating a campaign that would highlight the Journal's point of view and place in the media industry, according to Agnes Fischer, president of the The&Partnership's New York office.

"We were also trying to find a brand idea that would help them support all of their initiatives (so they) could live under this one brand umbrella," she said. "Hopefully what you'll see in the future from us will all fall under Read Yourself Better."

Research helped narrow down ideas for the campaign and the target audience. The Journal and The&Partnership found that those who subscribe to the newspaper often have a strong sense of self determination--the group of people they sought. They wanted this group of people to reach beyond the static and rely on true quality journalism to drive their decisions.

Once the idea was selected the rest came together quickly, Fischer said. The film took five days to produce, and during that time, the agency captured as many assets as they needed for social media and digital.

When asked why marketing and branding should be a priority to publishers, Plumeri said, "There's only so much disposable income for subscription services ... so we need to make our positioning and our value very clear. We also need to make sure that the promises that we're making are the promises that we're keeping."

Truth, New York Times

According to New York Times executive creative director of marketing Laura Forde, the aftereffects of the 2016 presidential election was the perfect moment in time for the paper to talk about the role of independent reporting and its role in society.

The result was the Truth campaign, which launched in February 2017. The first television spot (Truth is Hard) aired during...

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