A year after it was introduced, The New York Times' paid digital-subscription model is largely being hailed as a success. To celebrate, the newspaper is moving beyond educating people about the model and into a branding play that pushes the rich experience of using the website—in four new 60-second spots that will feel familiar to anyone who enjoys Google's advertising, particularly the spots for its Chrome browser.
In ads like "Parisian Love" and "Dear Sophie," Google has mastered the art of making static Web pages feel dynamic and evocative. That same pan-and-click approach—backed by similarly spare, inspirational music—is put to good use in the Times videos, which are designed to enlighten people about areas of coverage and features they might not expect from the paper. The two most Google-like videos focus on how the Times covers creativity and relationships, not stereotypical Times topics. A third looks at invention, a fourth at politics.
The spots do a nice job of making the content feel immersive and relevant. As the best Google ads do, these new spots impressively stitch together the illusion that using the Web properly—in this case, using one site extensively—is a cosmically rousing experience that helps you make sense of the world, exploit it to your maximum advantage and improve your life. The creativity video, in particular, has that same palpable sense of possibility and connectedness that was so beautifully rendered in "Dear Sophie." (Maybe it's the similar rolling piano score. Listen to them both—they're practically identical.)
The spots are running as pre-roll (as :60s and :30 cutdowns) and in rich-media banners—back by a DRTV spot pushing the subscription model. The initial media buy is four to six weeks, according to Laura Langdon, vp of marketing for the Times. She spoke to Beet.TV in a video also posted below.