The New York Times and Droga5 discuss the challenges of proving that 'The Truth Is Worth it'
The New York Times’ “The Truth Is Worth It” campaign has already nabbed a Grand Prix in Film Craft at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It’s also in competition for the Film category and has been shortlisted for Titanium. Ad Age sat down with New York Times Senior Vice President of Marketing Amy Weisenbach and Droga 5 Executive Director Tim Gordon, who dissected what it took to get the campaign idea from page to screen.
The effort follows New York Times journalists through the rigorous process of getting from an idea to an actual story published in the newspaper, which included coverage of migrant families separated at the U.S. border, questionable government practices in Myanmar against the Rohingya ethnic minority and the rise of the Islamic state’s rule in Iraq.
Selecting the stories to feature wasn’t easy, they said. “We looked at hundreds, the spreadsheet was pages and pages," Weisenbach says. "We spent a lot of time with our journalists really trying to understand the process that went into it. It was this perfect marriage of: Do they have the assets, do they have photos on their iPhones, is there audio, what’s the material we have to work with? Is it timely, was it interesting, was there an impact from the reporting? We looked at all these different dimensions to try to understand which stories to tell.”
Throughout the campaign, one of the hurdles to overcome was hesitation on the part of the journalist subjects. “At the beginning, there was some reluctance because marketing and the newsroom, there’s sort of a firewall,” Gordon says. ”We had to leap over it by earning their trust. That meant spending a lot of time with the journalists and involving them in the creative process the whole way through, whether it be running this weird deconstructed script by them, showing them final edit, giving them approval, debating use of terminology. We wanted there to be nothing but the truth in the ads because that [would be] doing a disservice to the reporting."