Airport clothing-store outlet United Arrows built a custom window display in its Tokyo location in which MarionetteBots (half mannequin, half robot) were wired with Kinect technology to mimic the movements of anyone facing them. The bots were all wearing United Arrows fashions, of course. On the one hand, big ups to anyone making creative use of puppets these days. On the other hand, the only thing more off-putting than a department store mannequin is one that dances joylessly for the public's amusement. At least these things had the good fortune to exist in a polite culture. In an American airport, they would have been touching themselves inappropriately and humping the windows within 10 minutes.
Gun metaphors are probably never a good idea in sports marketing. But Nike is feeling the sting more than most today, having produced this ad in 2011 with Oscar Pistorius—who now stands accused of shooting his girlfriend to death. As SBNation points out, Pistorius also appeared in a 2008 Nike campaign in which athletes refer to their bodies as weapons. Via Happy Place.
It's not usually the role of advertising to make people experience extreme discomfort. But it works pretty well in this Nivea stunt from Germany—a clever if highly sadistic bit of ambush marketing that's destined to go viral.
If you want to be surprised, watch the clip below before reading further.
What happened was: Nivea and ad agency Felix & Lamberti ambushed a series of people in an airport waiting room with an mischievous multimedia barrage that made it appear as though each one was wanted by the police for some crime. The agency secretly took each person's photo, then quickly printed it on a fake newspaper cover identifying the person as a fugitive, which an actor would then carry over and pretend to read near the person. Next, the photo would appear on a TV overhead, as part of a fake newscast that described the person as "dangerous and unpredictable."
Naturally, the victim's confusion—and stress—grow with each passing moment.
Security personnel soon approach, but then the ruse is revealed. They open a suitcase to reveal Nivea's new "Stress Protect" deodorant—apparently perfect for anyone under intense pressure, whether the subject of a dodgy manhunt or not.
Refreshingly, the brand says the victims were not actors. In a comment on the YouTube video, it claims to have thoroughly researched the people to make sure they were healthy enough to take part (no known heart problems, for example), that it had the people's friends lure them to the airport, and that the actual duration of the stress was fairly short.
"Everyone went home happy," the brand says. The same will surely be true of millions of viewers as this thing gets picked up in the coming days.
Agency: Felix & Lamberti, Hamburg, Germany
Creative Director, Copywriter: Felix Schulz
Art Director: Johannes Widmer
Production Companies: JOTZ!, Wefilm
Ikea Australia has done the math (or has it?) and come up with an amusing Valentine's Day offer—a free crib for babies born nine months from today. You'll have to clip out the voucher and keep it in a safe place for those nine months, and also provide proof of birth (whatever that means). The coupon also notes, "Delivery not included." That, of course, is the mom's job.
Publicis Groupe today reported a 23 percent increase in 2012 net income to $982 million, thanks to growth from digital services and its agencies in the U.S. and developing markets.
Revenue climbed nearly 14 percent, with digital now accounting for a third of the $8.81 billion in total revenue generated last year.
While the French holding company predicted that this year it will outperform its 2012 results, global CEO Maurice Lévy offered an otherwise pessimistic industry outlook.
“While 2012 was a more difficult year than expected, 2013 looks like it will be even more difficult between economic uncertainity and the weakness of Europe, where whole sectors of industry both lack competitiveness and face consumers’ concerns," Levy said.
Like most industry players, Europe was the company’s weakest market in 2012, with no growth. Business in the emerging BRIC markets, along with Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa and Turkey, posted the largest increase, at 10 percent. Business in North America, driven by media and digital results, rose 3 percent.
Organic revenue grew about 4 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and nearly 3 percent for the year—levels that Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser characterized as better-than-expected. Net income per share last year rose 27 percent to $4.48.
Interestingly, Publicis characterized 2013 market growth forecasts, from the company’s ZenithOptimedia unit, as “quite high” at 4.1 percent. However, Lévy added that "notwithstanding all this doom and gloom, there is good news from the USA where growth is up—even if the trends are fragile—and from the high-growth countries where forecasts are more optimistic."
Meredith Corp., the company that’s reportedly in talks to buy most of Time Inc., couldn’t be more different from the publishing giant.
In what would be one of the biggest game changers in the magazine world in years, Des Moines-based Meredith is said to be negotiating to add Time Inc.’s female skewing titles like InStyle, Real Simple and cash cow People to its own no-fuss heartland titles like Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Family Circle.
The irony, of course, is that Time Inc. chafed under the leadership of its last CEO, Jack Griffin, who had come from running Meredith's magazines. Griffin was fired after five months after clashes with Time Inc. senior management. If a deal goes through, Time Inc. could get a bigger taste of the culture they got exposed to during Griffin’s reign.
People at Time Inc. are already worrying about how they’ll fit in to the no-flash company known for its Iowa roots. “It’s Midwestern, very basic values, serving mass audiences,” one insider said, while at white-shoe Time Inc., “Editors feel like they’re doing something important. They hold their head really high. Editors at Meredith, they come in every morning and see the stock price.”
Meredith has for years pursued Time Inc.’s Southern Living, Cooking Light and other Southern Progress Group titles that would be a logical fit with the publisher's lifestyle titles. Save for More, the fashion magazine for over-40 women, Meredith doesn't have much of a fashion foothold, so adding Time Inc.’s glam titles like In Style, People StyleWatch and Real Simple would be a huge departure.
Meredith also doesn’t share Time Inc.’s heavyweight editorial tradition (although even that has changed, with stalwart editor in chief John Huey’s retirement). Under Griffin, Meredith did away with its editorial director. His successor, Tom Harty, has given publishers more oversight over editors.
Deutsch's new "Mask" commercial for Volkswagen's Beetle Convertible is well crafted—fine pacing, solid direction from Noam Murro, interesting photography, the "Trololo" song tossed in for good measure. But that doesn't make it all that compelling. It's getting good reviews, but for me, the setup lacks real suspense. We know from the get-go that the dude in a ski mask grabbing chips and candy at a convenience store—as shoppers cower and the counter guy grows increasingly tense—won't do squat. This isn't a Tarantino movie. It's a car commercial. It's not like all bloody hell is going to break loose, with bullets flying and people dying before "Das Auto" and the VW logo pop on-screen. Even if we're not initially sure what's going on, it feels like a buildup to a twist ending. I won't spoil it for you. Yes, I will. It's winter, and the masked dude and his masked pals are cruising around in a Beetle Convertible with the top down. Come on, dude, pull out a gun and waste your buddies! Tear off that mask and reveal a hideous alien head (or Marco Rubio) underneath! Talk like a Jamaican! Do something! Hold on, let me replay it. Nope. Seems we got robbed. Credits below.
Client: Volkswagen of America
Executlive Vice President, Chief Product and Marketing Officer: Tim Mahoney
Vice President, Marketing: Kevin Mayer
General Manager, Marketing Communications: Justin Osborne
Advertising Manager: Jeff Sayen
Deutsch Creative Credits and Titles:
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Hunter
Group Creative Directors: Michael Kadin, Matt Ian
Senior Art Director: Paul Oberlin
Senior Copywriter: Matt Sherman
Director of Integrated Production: Vic Palumbo
Director of Content Production: Victoria Guenier
Executive Integrated Producer: Jim Haight
Director: Noam Murro
Executive Producer: Shawn Lacy
Head of Production: Colleen O'Donnell
Line Producer: Jay Veal
Editor: Haines Hall
Assistant Editor: Kai Yu
Executive Producer: David Glean
Producer: J. Patrick McElroy
Color: Adam Scott
Visual Effects Company:
Producer: Rachael Trillo
Visual Effects Supervisor: James Allen
"Trololo" by Eduard Khil
740 Sound Design & Mix
Sound Designers: Rommel Molina, Nicholas Interlandi
Executive Producer: Scott Ganary
Mixer: Mark Meyuhas
Assistant: Matt Miller
Producer: Jessica Locke
Lake Arrowhead, Calif.
Additional Deutsch Credits:
Chief Executive Officer: Mike Sheldon
Group Account Director: Tom Else
Account Director: Monica Jungbeck
Account Supervisor: Alex Gross
Chief Strategic Officer: Jeffrey Blish
Group Planning Director: Doug Van Praet
Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Abilino Guillermo
Associate Director of Business Affairs: Gabriela Farias
Director or Broadcast Traffic: Carie Bonillo
Broadcast Traffic Manager: Sarah Brennan
Who (l. to r.) Co-founders Scott Weiner, Matthew Burnett and Tanya Menendez
What Business-to-business portal
Where Dumbo, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Like so many startups, Maker’s Row resulted from a big pivot. Unable to get a consumer e-commerce venture called Brooklyn Bakery to take off, its principals launched a portal to digitally connect American manufacturers and material suppliers to designers and brands in the U.S. after realizing the headaches involved in sourcing from China. “We were working so hard to get Brooklyn Bakery off the ground,” co-founder Matthew Burnett said. “Then we said, ‘Hey, this is a huge problem with much more potential that we can tackle.’ ” And since it made its debut in October, more than 4,000 U.S. businesses are using the site.
This week—specifically, on Thursday—some 260,000 American men will participate in an odd but enduring male ritual. No, not beer pong. They will drop to one knee before their sweethearts and propose marriage. In fact, Valentine’s Day is the single most popular square on the calendar in which to pop the question. And, of course, unless he’s angling to join the castrati, our hero will have a ring box in his hand when he does it. Ah, love. The most beautiful traditions never change.
But one look at the two wedding ring ads here will show you how nearly every other thing about proposing has changed. According to Ellen Fruchtman of Fruchtman Marketing, a consultancy specializing in wedding jewelry, the four decades that separate these 1972 and 2013 ads have witnessed the rise of many new trends, but perhaps none more startling than this: The ring has gone from being a commitment symbol to a lifestyle product. “Overall, from a creative standpoint, these ads are the same. The couple is in love, and the brands pull out the jewelry,” Fruchtman said. “But we have become materialists. Wedding jewelry has become about aspirations, no different from a luxury car.”
Before we get to that, let’s hit the obvious changes. If the couple in this Keepsake ad looks like two kids, it’s because they were. The median age for a first marriage in the early 1970s was 23 for guys and 21 for women. (Today, respectively, it’s 28 and 26.) We’ve also witnessed a dramatic shift in gender roles. In the 1972 ad, Fruchtman said, “She’s so submissive, looking longingly at him as if to say, ‘Oh, I just adore you!’” The newer ad says: “I’ll screw you!” In fact—forgive us—chances are she already has. According to the CDC, a mere 14 percent of women donning that white bridal gown these days are actually virgins.
The sexiness of the Triton ad speaks to more than just the redefining of personal morality, however. It’s just as much about style and individuality. Say you covered up all the text. Could this photo not pass as an advertisement for designer jeans or a seductive cologne? There’s a familiarity and irreverence to this couple that’s a million miles removed from the tentative touching of the 1972 ad. But the most notable shift is who this ad is directed at—not the blushing bride of the 1970s but the groovy groom of the millennial generation. “Today, he picks out his own ring,” Fruchtman said, “and men are looking for very different things.”
In fact, this Triton ring is the veritable anthesis of what most brides would want. It has minimal styling and mere chips for diamonds. “But the guy will buy it,” Fruchtman said, “because it’s tough.” Hold on. Isn’t that the same reason he’d buy a car or a wristwatch? Indeed so. The matrimonial evolution on view here proves that today’s dudes want to look cool, even if it’s marching down the aisle of a church.
The publishing world got a jolt today with reports that Time Warner is in talks to sell its publishing unit Time Inc., a move that would cap years of speculation.
Time Inc.'s own Fortune first reported that a "serious buyer" was in talks to buy the company. The No. 1 U.S. magazine publisher, Time Inc. is a jumble of women- and men-aimed titles and weeklies and monthlies, so finding a buyer who would want the entire portfolio is unlikely. As such, speculation quickly turned to one scenario put forth by Fortune that had Time Inc. selling its more valuable, women’s titles including People, its crown jewel and widely considered the industry’s most profitable magazine; In Style; and Real Simple. The New York Times followed with a story centering on Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle publisher Meredith, already entrenched in women's magazines and an active buyer of late, as a buyer of Time Inc.'s women's magazines. A spokesman for Meredith Corp. said the company had no comment.
A publishing executive told Adweek that he had direct knowledge that Carlyle and Meredith had been teaming up with interest in buying magazines and had approached other publishers recently but been rebuffed.
Other speculation today centered on figures as diverse as Warren Buffett, Ryan Seacrest and ex-Time Inc. CEO and Meredith exec Jack Griffin (who was said to have appeared surprised himself by the sale reports).
A partial spinoff scenario would leave Time Warner still holding the iconic but more challenged brands, Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated. Time Warner has never had much success wringing synergies out of its publishing and cable properties; its most recent attempt, having Sports Illustrated and Turner work together on ad sales, ended in disaster. Corporate cooperation could get another chance, though, now that CNN has a new president Jeff Zucker, who doesn’t come with that corporate baggage.
Rumors of a spinoff have swirled for years as Time Inc.’s performance has trailed Time Warner’s lucrative cable business, and in the past, questions about a sale have been met with strong denials. But those answers have grown softer lately, and company watchers said comment by chairman Jeff Bewkes on CNBC last week in which he seemed to entertain the idea of a sale was a telling one. Spokespeople for Time Inc. and Time Warner had no comment on the sale matter.
Time Inc.’s new CEO Laura Lang has been trying to lift the company’s performance by laying off 480 people, or 6 percent of the global workforce; introducing new digital ad products; and creating a centralized video unit.
But as the position of consumer marketing head remains open at a time when growing consumer revenue is a critical priority for the industry. And morale has suffered as insiders have complained that Lang has been remote and lacked in big initiatives.
“This is kind of a bellwether event, because it’s the largest magazine company in the world splitting the company up,” Reed Phillips of media investment bank DeSilva + Phillips. “It’s the end of an era." A sale wouldn't necessarily signal that the industry is moving away from ownership consolidation, however, he added. "The issue of Time Inc. is a Time Warner issue. Magazines have become a much smaller piece of the puzzle there.”
Remember those British atheist bus ads in 2008 that inspired all the American atheist bus ads? You know, the ones that read, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." Well, the British Humanist Association is now selling the original bus ads on eBay, just in time for Valentine's Day. You—yes, you—could buy your secular sweetie a piece of atheist advertising history. The BHA press release gloats that the banners prompted 326 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. Not only do the proceeds go to charity (atheists give, too!), but one of the banners has entered the collection of the Museum of London.
Five agencies remain in the hunt for Porsche Cars North America's creative account.
Sources identified the shops as McKinney in Durham, N.C.; Droga5 in New York; Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami; Olson in Minneapolis; and the incumbent, Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago.
The contenders emerged from a broader field of agencies that met with Porsche executives, sources said. Porsche has briefed the shops; the next step is a round of work sessions.
Media spending on the brand totaled nearly $15 million in 2011, according to Nielsen. That figure doesn't include online spending.
Media responsibilities are not in play and remain at PHD. External View Consulting Group in Culver City, Calif. is managing the search.
External View did not return calls and Porsche, whose U.S. headquarters is in Atlanta, could not immediately be reached.
The automaker expects to select a winner by late May or early June. Cramer-Krasselt has handled the account since 2007.
Can you build a complete brand identity for a company before you even know what kinds of products it will sell? Ben Pieratt, a designer and co-founder of Svpply, is trying just that with Hessian, a fully designed brand he created from scratch, and which he is now selling for $18,000. All the buyer has to provide is the product.
Your $18,000 gets you the following:
• Twitter account
• Tumblr account
• 20+ logo and other designs
• 10+ T-shirt designs
• 8 repeating patterns
• 1 website theme
• 1 app user interface theme
• 5 app icons
• Brand book w/guiding principles
• 30 hours custom design time (for transitioning the brand to buyer's needs)
"Hessian is an invader, an ode, a brand in waiting, a pitch to the market," Pieratt writes. "As a newborn idea, Hessian is aggressive and experimental. Its only conduit the working mind of designer Ben Pieratt, it fights for life by building meme-hooks through studies in contrasts, nostalgia, repetition and confusion. The Hessian could be a restaurant, a start-up, a clothing brand or more."
Pieratt originally envisioned Hessian—named for Richard Hess, an advertising art director who died in 1991—as a T-shirt company. But then it became this experiment—conceptual, but also, Pieratt hopes, eventually practical. In a blog post further explaining the idea, he says designers are naturally good at knowing what kinds of products the market wants, and especially good at knowing how those products should look. But they're less good at running companies. Thus, Hessian is a brand that can be handed off before it's incorporated into a company—indeed, before it's even attached to a product. In the future, Pieratt says he hopes to create product and brand together, and sell them as a (much more expensive) package.
Hessian has gotten lots of attention in the past few days. And that puts a wrinkle in the experiment. The more people learn about Hessian now, the more it begins to represent itself rather than the product it may eventually signify. As such, Pieratt admits he may not find a buyer this time around. "In that sense," he tells Wired, "Hessian is as much a marketing stunt for a mentality as it is a genuine attempt to make some money."
Via Co. Design.
The Microsoft Surface user who makes everyone around him burst out into enthusiastic dance moves is back. And this time it's professional.
This new ad for the Surface Pro is slicker and better focused than the previous one for the Surface RT, which I still liked but which many of you fine folks pointed out had its problems—most notably, huge fingerprints all over the screen in one of the last shots. (It's OK. Perfectionism is what makes you Adweek readers.)
But the new ad—Jon M. Chu directed both—is structured in a way the old one wasn't. It's set at a business meeting that appears to take place entirely in User Von Microsoft's head, in which the click-clack of his tablet's snap-together keyboard attachment and the bonking of his stylus are a symphony of martial taps and rolls just before the faux dubstep wubs and wurrrrrs.
The best moment here is the boss walking into the boardroom where leggy secretaries and fly junior execs are dancing like they're in the Rob Ashford revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. And instead of what's-all-this-ing them back to their cubicles, takes off his fancy coat and breaks it down while his beatboxing assistant drops some bass all over that nice clean floor.
This is basically the end to all movies about college, where the crusty old dean is admonished not to be such a square by an even more senior administrator, except there's no crusty old dean—just you, the viewer, who didn't give enough credit to this boss for being cool when he first walked in with his expensive glasses and his dance-proof trenchcoat.
He took off that coat and showed you, didn't he? What, bosses can't dance? Bosses aren't cool? We've had it with your attitude, prospective Surface Pro user. You're fired.
Director: Jon M. Chu
Music: The Bangerz
Honda gives Abe Lincoln and George Washington the Auto-Tune treatment in this thoroughly anachronistic slow-jam ad for a Presidents' Day sale. I really tried to like this one because of the fife and drum music, but the lack of focus just kills it for me. Plus, it sells Bluetooth harder than the cars themselves. But if you're going to rip off Andy Samberg, I suppose the results could be worse. If they're going to mix 'n' match from history like this, though, next time they might as well structure it like an Epic Rap Battle.
Eva Longoria is celebrating Valentine's Day by giving a man a sassy shave in this L'Oréal Men campaign. She seems to be talking to guys in the video, reprimanding them for not working hard enough on being sexy and telling them they need to wash up and be presentable for their ladies. She also yells at guys in general, saying women can't do all the work … then paradoxically, she does all the work in shaving him. Even more confusing, the on-screen copy suggests ladies will get the best out of their man if they "flirt it out of him," and then directs women, who we all know are the buyers of dude products, to a website where they can answer a few questions and find out the perfect gift for their man. Surprise, it's a L'Oréal product! And … a DVD. Who even buys DVDs anymore? Anyhow, a sultry shave isn't the worst idea for Valentine's Day. And feisty Eva is the right woman for the job.
Ha, ha, dumb advertising people, no one in his or her right mind cares about your lame industry awards! Ad agency John St. does a great job of communicating that message in these awesomely acted, self-deprecating, sad-funny promos for Canada's Cassie Awards, honoring campaign effectiveness, which were doled out a few weeks back in Toronto. OK, like the campaign says, maybe clients care (at least until they fire you without so much as a phone call and you have to learn about it from the trade press). Absolutely no one outside the business, however, gives a flying fig. And yet the Cassie winners here are oblivious to that as they hilariously (and pathetically) clutch their awards and babble on about what the prizes mean to them. In the best of three spots, a traffic cop asks a woman who can't find her license and registration to step out of the car. She smiles inanely (insanely?) and replies, "With my Cassie Award?" which she proceeds to wave in the officer's face after he orders her to "keep your hands where I can see them." Come to think of it, I write about ad awards all the time. What does that say about the choices I've made? Does anybody care?! I'll think more about that after I polish off these mini-bottles of airline booze I keep in my bottom drawer. Via Adverve.
In a Nutshell: A virtual race between men and women, merging 3-D visualization with real-time user running data, incentivizing Nike+ runners to run more.
Why I Wish I Did It: I’m not really into digital toys. I love things that are creative utilities or clear demonstrations rather than beautifully crafted distractions.
This latest installment in Nike’s “versus” moves beyond geographies such as North vs. South London and onto the battle of the sexes. The strategy is smart because it is built from an insight into one of the things that motivates runners—competition. The team has found another way to bring that to life in an interesting way with some nice real-time visualizations. My only build would be some of the criteria which are maybe male-biased—e.g., average pace. I’d love to see a level such as “consistency” that recognizes who gets out there and runs everyday.
This is a periodic installment that asks an agency guru to highlight a project from Google’s Creative Sandbox, an online gallery of standout campaigns that blend creativity and technology.
More than six decades ago, television started life as the first screen because it was the only screen. When I grew up, we had one TV with a few channels. Life seemed simple compared to today’s multiscreen environment, as I watch my own children engage with their phones and laptops, sharing and communicating with friends while the TV is on in the background.
The numbers don’t lie. We spend about 20 percent of our time watching TV, but according to Nielsen, that number is declining for the second year in a row. It’s not that we are turning off—Americans are voracious viewers—but, rather, shifting our attention to new technology that makes it easier to watch content whenever and wherever we choose. What device allows you to get customized content on the go or at home? A TV?
More than half of Americans sleep next to their phones and say it’s the first thing they touch in the morning and the last thing at night. Consider this: In the past year, one in five Americans watched TV programming on a phone. Is this mainstream behavior? No, not yet. Is this common behavior for a significant population? Absolutely. For millions of Americans, mobile is the first screen, and out of the home it’s the only screen. Meaning if you don’t have mobile in your marketing mix then you are missing a huge opportunity.
A recent Microsoft Advertising study called “Meet the Screens” found that we clearly love our mobile devices. Just about all smartphone owners (94 percent) worry about losing their phones, and 73 percent have felt panicky when they’ve misplaced their phones. No matter the age or culture, only 11 percent of consumers who own smartphones, tablets, TVs and computers would give up their mobile phones before their other screens. Most also stated that phones mirror their identities—social links, favorite activities, localization, travel, family photos, data that is very private. For marketers, the level of intimacy of mobile technology opens up new opportunities for intense consumer engagement.
One of the biggest challenges facing marketers is understanding, creating and managing customer experiences across multiple platforms including email, mobile, social media, the Web and other digital channels. According to a recent Forrester study, more than 78 percent of marketers said creating multichannel campaigns is critical to growing their business. Consumers want a seamless experience with a brand that cuts across all platforms whether it’s mobile, desktop PC, tablet or TV.
Right now, there are two popular forms of mobile advertising. The first is banner ads on your phone that typically say “just click here.” The other is interruptive advertising. These two simple forms of media have their roots in other media—like a print ad or a Web ad on a computer’s large display. We tolerate it because it is next to content we want to consume. However, when we encounter a mobile ad that’s irrelevant, it’s disruptive.
Coming up with ads that take advantage of the smaller mobile screen requires innovation from many parties—advertisers, digital publishers such as Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook that sell ad space, and mobile ad networks. We need to start with the consumer and how he or she uses a mobile device.
For example, let’s look at consumers and the on-the-go shopping experience—pre, during and post—and treat mobile as the first screen and not an afterthought. This past holiday season, consumers increasingly used their mobile phones for researching deals, store locations and price comparison. It’s not surprising that more than 50 percent of Google searches are on mobile phones.
While in the store, shoppers will use their phones to check in via Foursquare, Shopkick or another location service, search for coupons, scan product codes and make a purchase either in store or, increasingly, online. And people are sharing their purchases via their social channels. There are many touch points along this journey to inspire and engage shoppers on their much-loved mobile devices.
Last year, marketers put mobile strategies in place. In 2013, the pressure will be how to break down silos across digital channels and leverage the data to help optimize and target integrated campaigns using mobile as one channel. Advertisers have no choice but to go where audiences are, and mobile has clearly knocked TV off its pedestal as the first screen.
Whether it will match TV’s six-decade run is anyone’s guess.
The Financial Times marks its 125th anniversary today, and, befitting the challenges facing newspapers today, the celebration will have practical elements.
An ad campaign with the somber tagline “Still guiding the way for global business” is breaking in print and online. The U.K.-bsaed FT is using the occasion to offer a special rate on full-page congratulatory ads and a special $125 subscription offer on Feb. 13. There are some fanciful aspects, too: Hot-air balloons in the paper’s signature pink color will fly over financial hubs over the course of the year, and the Empire State Building will be lit pink on May 1.
With its pioneering metered paywall, the FT has been held up as a rare success story in a newspaper industry that has struggled to adapt to the digital age. Last year, subscriptions to FT.com, at more than 300,000, surpassed print circulation for the first time. Mobile is the fastest-growing source of the FT’s digital traffic, accounting for 25 percent of its visitorship.
But the FT isn’t immune from the struggles facing newspapers in general. Print ad revenue has been challenged and digital advertising has been slow to make up for it; the paper recently adopted a “digital-first” initiative that entailed a net loss of 25 jobs. There’s growing competition for the global business reader, from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Bloomberg LP. Parent Pearson denies the paper's for sale, but rumors to the contrary have been flying.
In changing times, the paper sees its continued narrow focus on business influencers and editorial independence as an asset.
“Our laser-like focus on that market and providing it with a lack of party affiliation and a global outlook has been key to our success,” Andrew Sollinger, the FT’s managing director for The Americas, said in a veiled swipe at its biggest competitor, the Journal. “Our readership relies upon that unfiltered information. They want exactly that that we’re providing, not the additional info.”
While print is still of “critical importance,” Sollinger said, “We’re prepared for [the challenge], and constantly evolving. Our reliance on digital content revenues will cushion us against any revenue swings.”
To that end, the FT expects to get half its revenue from circulation revenue this year (defying the conventional newspaper model, with its 80-20 advertising-circulation split), with 30 percent coming from digital.