The New York Times Co.'s Internet arm today will debut its first consumer branding campaign for nytimes.com to raise the profile of a site that's already the No. 1 U.S. newspaper destination on the Web.
The multimillion-dollar effort includes full-page ads in publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, New York magazine and Newsweek, as well as billboards in the New York area.
“We feel that we need to break out from the newspaper dot-com world and position ourselves with larger media players like MSNBC.com, CNN.com and ABCNews.com,” said Craig Calder, vice president of marketing at New York Times Digital.
The New York publisher's site at www.nytimes.com only recently surpassed ABCNews.com's 4.3 percent penetration of U.S. Internet audiences by reaching 4.6 percent, according to August figures from Media Metrix, New York. Still, it lags online behind MSNBC.com and CNN.com in home and work reach.
Created by Ogilvy & Mather, New York, the campaign uses the tag line, “Mind over chatter.” The creative renditions reflect the unique characteristics of the site. One ad is headlined, “Mind over chatter”; another, “Omniscience updated hourly”; and a third reads, “The right now edition.”
“We think it's a real departure for what you would traditionally see for the New York Times brand,” Calder said. “We're using background patterns in an effort to stand out from the fourth-quarter clutter.”
So far, the 4-year-old nytimes.com site has been publicized only through a smattering of online ads and a push in trade publications to gain the eye of media planners. This new effort will spread to major metros nationwide sometime in the first quarter.
“We thought that we needed to get out with a large branding effort to let people know that nytimes.com is more than just a newspaper online,” Calder said.
Separately, Women.com, San Mateo, CA, a site that offers news and information for women, will break the TV end of its ad campaign on cable outlet Lifetime later this month.
Handled by Citron Haligman Bedecarre, San Francisco, the TV push complements the print effort that broke in the September issues of Prevention, Redbook, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, among eight publications that include Hearst Corp. titles.
The two 30-second spots on Lifetime feature serious and light-hearted statistics about women. One spot, titled “Opera,” opens with an opera singer who gives voice to statistics on women, followed by women of various ethnicities, professions and ages.
Through that positive depiction of women, Women.com inherently hopes to emphasize the content and tools available on www.women.com, which claims 7.6 million unique visitors per month, according to Media Metrix.
“[Also], it's an attempt to show that we know about them and their interests in an online experience,” said Annie Ellicott, vice president of marketing at Women.com Networks. “Our secondary objective really is to show in our advertising a more human and more emotional association between our brand and our target.”
The TV effort on Lifetime is part of a multiyear alliance with the broadcaster. Lifetime will take a 4.6 percent interest in Women.com. In return, Women.com will buy $10 million worth of advertising on Lifetime.
This alliance offers cross-media promotions on television and in print and online involving magazine publisher Hearst, also an investor in Lifetime.
“Women.com's marketing strategy is to continue to maintain efficient spending in an effort to keep customer acquisition costs low and to reach profitability,” said Benna Holden, senior manager of media relations at Women.com.
“Therefore,” Holden said, “we work with our partners such as Hearst and Lifetime to secure wide reach of the Women.com brand through co-branding, cross-promotion and advertising.”