Reviving '80s tagline
The tagline, first used in the mid '80s, is "These Times Demand The Times." But the commercials, which include footage of Times reporters inside headquarters on 43rd Street, conclude: "It's about the quality of the journalism. Period. End of story."
"That's our point of differentiation and that's the point that we wanted to get out there," said Alyse Myers, senior VP-chief marketing officer, The New York Times Media Group. She said the paper's troubles did not inform the campaign, which was created by an in-house team working with consultants Michael MacNeill and Nat Whitten and replaces the discontinued "Expect the World" effort.
"This is an opportunity for us to present our journalism, our journalists and why we matter," she said.
Few people argue that The Times doesn't matter, of course, but it remains buffeted by criticism, new-media competition and unsteady newsroom morale. Michael Wolff, the Vanity Fair columnist who wrote a recent, depressing assessment of the paper, said that's what the campaign seems to address most.
'An odd thing'
"A branding campaign for The New York Times seems like an odd thing to me," he said. "They essentially have a branding campaign that arrives every day -- the paper, the piece of media that any other company would use for its brand campaigns.
"If it's fundamentally directed at the consumer, again I would say, Why? What's the point here other than to make The Times itself feel better?"
The campaign actually will develop into a circulation drive down the road, adding direct-response elements to lure new readers.
It also includes a site -- not live till Sept. 18 -- at TheseTimesDemandTheTimes.com that couple radio spots with video of reporters, photographers and editors. Commercials will run during shows from "The Today Show" to the season premiere of "Lost."
Even if the campaign somehow succeeds only in giving the newsroom a swell of pride -- in a way that "Expect the World" did not -- that might be benefit enough for now.