The New York Times launches ad platform to leverage archives with National Geographic Channel as launch partner

By Natan Edelsburg 

Turn on your flux capacitor to 88 MPH and get ready for one of the most exciting ad launches of the year. The New York Times has launched an advertising program using their web archives dating back to 1851. The new platform will leverage “TimesMachine,” which is, “a digital archive that displays 70 years of Times content via electronic pages with the look and feel of the original printed stories.” Here’s how the National Geographic Channel is leveraging this time travelling tool.

“The archive includes every issue from Volume 1, Number 1 of The New-York Daily Times, on September 18, 1851, through The New York Times of December 30, 1922,” explained The New York Times in their announcement. “The campaign, which starts running today throughout preceding a homepage takeover on February 16, is timed to the debut of the network’s first original factual drama, ‘Killing Lincoln,’ which is based on Bill O’Reilly’s book of the same name, and airing Sunday, February 17 at 8 p.m. ET.”

To promote the show, the network will be leveraging the actual front page content from the day after Lincoln was assassinated. “National Geographic Channel’s custom unit is a half-page with overlay, featuring the front page of The New York Times from April 15, 1865, the day after Lincoln’s assassination, complete with the headline: ‘President Lincoln Shot by an Assassin.'”

This innovative use of their digital archives is sure to get other TV networks interested. From Mad Men to Boardwalk Empire and The Americans, any time piece TV show should consider making the biggest headlines from that time a part of their social marketing efforts.