The New York Times Hit Record Subscription Levels Thanks to a Simple Idea and the President’s Tweets

Droga5 head of communications strategy on the 'Truth' campaign

CANNES, France—When Donald Trump tweets, subscriptions go up.

Colleen Leddy, head of communications strategy at Droga5, and her team knew that to be true. So when the agency began working on the first major branding campaign for The New York Times in a few years and first TV spot for the brand since 2010, it was important that the campaign roll out on a big stage.

That stage was not only billboards in Times Square, but a TV spot that ran during the Academy Awards.

“We anticipated some [actors] talking about the importance of journalism. When we started to really dig into the show we realized that Sting was actually going to do a performance about the importance of journalism that was actually tied to the show,” Leddy said.

The media placement of the spot was perfect as well, running just after Sting’s performance.

Leddy and her team thought the campaign might catch the attention of President Trump, who then tweeted about it, leading to even more subscriptions. In fact, in the quarter following the campaign’s roll out, The New York Times saw its highest number of subscriptions in a quarter to date.