Wall Street Journal Ad Campaign Stars Will.i.am, Tory Burch

Fighting for Readers' Time

By Published on .

Advertising Age Player

The Wall Street Journal has begun a new marketing campaign with the theme "Make Time," designed to gain broader readership amid fierce competition in business journalism.

The premise is simple: Even the busiest people -- by implication the most successful -- make time to read the Journal. But it's also a reminder of the onslaught of media and demands confronting readers. The nearly infinite supply of distractions online has even led to an effort to charge advertisers by the number of minutes a publication can capture from readers, rather than the usual metric of how many readers stop by.

The push will run in print, on out of home signs, in digital media and on TV, according to the Journal. Executions will appear in New York subway stations, in Tokyo's business district, on in-flight videos, and in business lounges at Heathrow and London City airports.

"We are aiming for a combination of ambitious people who really do read the Wall Street Journal and who do not know how valuable the Journal can be," said Gerard Baker, editor in chief at the Journal. "If you are ambitious and you are working very hard, you need to make time to read the Wall Street Journal."

Fashion designer Tory Burch in the Journal's new campaign.
Fashion designer Tory Burch in the Journal's new campaign.

The campaign recruited a range of high-profile figures, including fashion designer Tory Burch, producer and rapper Will.i.am and SAP CEO Bill McDermott. In one commercial, Will.i.am breaks off from his work to sit alone in a quiet room and swipe through the Journal on a tablet.

"The biggest barrier in becoming a subscriber is that they did not have the time to read," said Isaac Silverglate, executive creative director at The & Partnership, the agency that produced the campaign. "By showing the busiest people in the world make time to read the Journal every day, the campaign shows the Journal's true value."

The campaign comes as the Journal is facing competition not only from traditional news outlets such as Bloomberg or the New York Times, but also fast-growing digital publications such as Business Insider and Quartz. Bloomberg recently revamped its online presence and rolled out a $1 million ad campaign to promote it.

Dow Jones, the News Corp. unit that includes the Journal, said in December that the Journal's global paid circulation averaged nearly 2.17 million in the quarter ending in September, including 702,000 digital-only subscriptions. It was the first installation of a new global report from the company, so no year-earlier comparison is available.

News Corp. said earlier this month that ad revenue at its news and information division fell 9% in the quarter ending Dec. 31 as declines in the U.K. and at other businesses were partly offset by higher ad revenue across the Journal franchise.

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