After simpering coyly about its launch plans over the last several weeks, Metro International suddenly launched its tabloid daily giveaway newspaper on Wednesday May 5.

But although MI had consistently refused to name the day, the launch date has been an open secret since the middle of last month [WAMN: 21-Apr-04].

Three hundred thousand copies of Metro hit the New York streets, homing-in on the young commuter market, and supported by a major marketing campaign.

This includes free coffee and copies of the tabloid dispensed from branded Metro trucks, while rush-hour DJs such as Howard (expletive deleted) Stern will plug the paper as part of a paid promo.

Zany postings and phone kiosk signage, created by McCann-Erickson WorldGroup in London, adorned Manhattan as 350 modishly-uniformed young people began distributing Metro to rush-hour travelers on subways, buses and commuter trains.

The freesheet, which has conducted a 'shock and awe' blitzkrieg on extant Big Apple giveaway AM New York (daily distribution 200,000), via available Monday through Friday via branded street dispensers at high density transportation hubs such as Grand Central, Pennsylvania Station and Times Square.

The high visibility dispensers will also adorn commuter venues in New York's outer boroughs, penetrating as far into the boondocks as Long Island and New Jersey.

MI distributes 38 editions of Metro in sixteen countries. Whether it can also make the grade in New York remains to be seen.

Admits Toby Constantine, vp of marketing and research: "This is a very crowded and cluttered marketplace. But we have some experience over the years and across the world doing this successfully, and we've put an awful lot of planning into the New York launch."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff