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Ralph Lauren Buys Solo Sponsorship of NY Times iPad App for September

Ads Will Provide the Only Live Video of Designer's Fashion Week Runway Show, Suspend Pay Meter Around Five Sections

By Published on . 2

Polo Ralph Lauren has bought a solo sponsorship of The New York Times iPad app during September, providing free access to five sections and running ads that , among other things, will provide the only live video of its Fashion Week runway show on Sept. 15.

An interactive ad page from Polo Ralph Lauren's iPad takeover.
An interactive ad page from Polo Ralph Lauren's iPad takeover.

It's the first time a single marketer has bought out the app, which usually hosts six advertisers at once; the first time a marketer has gotten its pay meter suspended, if only for the Fashion & Style, Travel, Home & Garden, T Magazine and Sports sections; and the first time the app has hosted live video of any kind, according to the Times, either in ads or news coverage. Roughly 850,000 people use the app in a month, the Times said.

"Ralph Lauren was the first advertiser to really do major 24-page 'story' advertisements in The New York Times Magazine," said David Lauren, exec VP-advertising, marketing and corporate communications at Polo Ralph Lauren and son of the company's founder. "My dad would run these big cinematic advertisements about safaris or the American West, and it helped to define the brand. Years later again our company took on 52 pages -- basically page 5 of Sunday Styles every weekend. That's become part of the new way of reaching our customer. The question was what we could do as we enter the digital age."

"Obviously you're always offered a simple ad following another ad," Mr. Lauren added. "We said, 'That's not what we want.'"

The main creative of the campaign is an ad that expands to offer a catalog-like experience and e-commerce capabilities. Video of the runway show will remain available for replay after it streams live.

Suspending the pay meter around five sections builds on Lincoln's earlier deal to offer unlimited subscriptions to NYTimes.com for the rest of this year, according to Denise Warren, senior VP and chief advertising officer at the New York Times Media Group and general manager of NYTimes.com. Could an advertiser strike a deal to unlock the iPad app entirely? "Sure," Ms. Warren said. "We'd be open to just about anything."

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