Knight Takes Stock With ‘Barron’s’

NEW YORK Saturday marked a milestone for Dow Jones’ Barron’s. For the first time in its 86 years, the financial publication included a national advertising insert.

The 16-page supplement, created for New York stock trading firm Knight Capital Group by its ad agency, Omnicom’s Doremus, was distributed to more than 200,000 readers via the magazine and insert wrapped in Knight-branded poly-bags.

Barron’s publisher Gary Holland said the periodical had not yet run an insert because “our presses were not geared up for [them].” Knight was not the first to approach Barron’s about doing one, he said, its timing was simply fortuitous. It was earlier this year that the Dow Jones print operations division devised a way to distribute inserts.

But even with the technology in place, Barron’s plans to be selective. “We want to set parameters on this,” he said. “We don’t want it to look like your Saturday newspaper, full of inserts and coupons.”

That said, for “key and appropriate clients” who want to produce one in the future, Barron’s will work with them, said Holland. In fact, Knight is doing a second, more targeted insert that will include a belly wrap and a $5 Starbucks card in about a month.

According to Chris Philips, svp, chief experience officer at Doremus, the print media in general is becoming more open to innovation. “It makes their publications seem more vibrant,” he said. And in many cases, he added, it doesn’t take a lot of persuading. “Sometimes you just have to ask,” he said.

It was by asking that Philips got publisher Conde Nast to use a cover wrap for the first time on its magazines with the inaugural May issue of its new business publication, Portfolio. The cover wrap, essentially a second cover paid for by a sponsor that wraps around the editorial cover, was an ad for client Russell Investment Group. “It’s not a new technique, but they had never done them before,” he said. “All of this is about innovation, impact and magnifying a budget. And how to get your message to stand out.”

Last year, when Doremus kicked off the current Knight campaign (the Barron’s insert is an extension of that effort), it convinced Barron’s to allow it to use, also for the first time, a U-shaped ad over a spread that ran down the two far-left columns on the left page, across the bottom of the spread and down the two far-right columns of the right page. Key to that format was having editorial content in the middle of the spread, said Philips, the idea being that readers would pay more attention to a spread containing some editorial content.

Philips said it would not take long to assess the impact of the insert. Last July, when Doremus bought all the space in Grand Central Station to help launch the Knight campaign, the client received a lot of industry feedback almost immediately. While the shop will likely do follow-up tracking studies, Philips said, “we’ll know Monday if it worked. There will be buzz in the marketplace; they will hear it on the phone.”