AUSTIN, TX: The New York Times has used advertising to help create a "long-term view" about its brand – a goal with particular significance at a time of challenges both from a revenue perspective and from President Trump.
Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of The New York Times, discussed this subject at the 2017 South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference.
And he cited a campaign unveiled by the publication earlier this year that featured a TV spot run during the 2017 Academy Awards, plus further television, digital and outdoor buys, and print ads in the Times itself.
Drawing on the premise "The Truth Is Hard to Know. The Truth Is More Important Than Ever", this effort – created by agency Droga5 – represented an attempt to demonstrate the underlying values of its brand.
"It's about creating a long-term view that what we do is different," said Baquet. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: How The New York Times is building its brand in the age of President Trump.)
"It's [about] creating a long-term view that we spend the money and we risk our lives to cover war; about creating a long-term view about our brand."
Reinforcing the strength of the Times' brand is especially pertinent given President Trump has repeatedly called the publication "failing" and "fake" on Twitter.
In the face of such comments, the "Grey Lady" is remaining true to its core "mission", according to Baquet. "Our mission is what it has always been: aggressive coverage of government," he said.
"Our job is not to be the opposition to Donald Trump; it's to cover the hell out of Donald Trump. It's not to be his opponent; it's to be tough, questioning, advocates of journalism and of our readers."
In fact, Trump's election – and his criticism of the Times, has led to a surge in digital subscriptions. But Baquet asserted that the publication wanted to extend its appeal well beyond a liberal base.
"I think that we need to get better at doing some things that will attract different kinds of reader," he said. "I don't mean by skewing our coverage.
"I think we should get out in the country more, talk to people who may not necessarily be our readers. I think there are some subjects that are usually subjects that we do not always have as many reporters covering, like religion … [We should] surprise people by showing up in places that they might not expect."
Data sourced from Warc