MARC Ads Push Tribune Tabloid Aimed at Youth

The Chicago Tribune’s effort to reach younger readers, a daily tabloid called Red Eye, will be backed by a print, outdoor and mass-transit campaign from MARC USA that urges urbanites to “See red.”

Bright red ads for Red Eye that break on Nov. 15 use a quirky, soft-sell approach with headlines such as, “Surprising. In a y’know,-a-leopard-thong-doesn’t-look-half-bad-on-me kind of way.”

“See red,” the ad reads below that. “Catch a glimpse at newstands daily.”

“I don’t think we’re trying to tell people what to do. We’re announcing the fact that this is a new way to get the news,” said Bill Brichta, chief creative officer of the Chicago agency. “The minute you try to sell [young people] something, you turn them off.”

The Tribune, which, like most newspapers, has suffered from a steady abandonment by younger readers over the years, launched Red Eye earlier this month. The compendium of condensed news stories and offbeat news bits from around the globe quickly had a competitor from the Chicago Sun-Times, which has launched a similar tabloid called Red Streak.

Unlike the Sun-Times, a tabloid that is aimed at city dwellers, the Tribune, with its starchy, suburban reputation, has a tougher challenge in motivating people in their 20s who don’t read newspapers to climb aboard. The ads for Red Eye position the publication as one “that doesn’t always take itself too seriously,” Brichta said.

Ads for the tabloid will also be placed in the bathrooms of clubs and bars frequented by the target audience, with some equipped with a recording of a woman’s voice pushing the paper, Brichta said.

An ad for men’s rooms reads, “Hypnotizing, in a stare into the giant eyeball while you pee kind of way.”

Spending on the effort was not disclosed. MARC USA is the Tribune’s lead agency.