After making waves by bypassing Apple’s iTunes store, Pearson’s Financial Times is looking to grow its U.S. audience with a large-scale marketing campaign.
The multimedia campaign will launch Sept. 6 and appear in publications like the Economist, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fortune, on cable channels including MSNBC and BBC World, and in outdoor placements in New York and Washington. The ads, created by DDB London, will also run in the U.K. and Europe.
The effort is the first large-scale ad campaign in the U.S. since 2000, which included TV ads featuring the comedian Dan Aykroyd playing a financially clueless American and humorous one-liners. The campaign, by BBDO Worldwide, was estimated at a lavish $35 million.
The current one, which takes a more staid tone, seeks to present the financial broadsheet as a trusted source of news in rocky times—one of the ads, for instance, portrays a St. Bernard carrying a rolled up FT on its collar. The goal is also to emphasize its credibility as a global news source in the U.S., said Caroline Halliwell, director of brand and business-to-business marketing for the FT.
“It’s very much about engaging with the U.S. audience so they understand what it stands for,” Halliwell said. While the FT is pleased with the progress it's made in the U.S. 14 years after launching here, she said, “It’s fair to say we’re not as developed in the U.S. market, to compare that to the U.K. and European market.”
With the campaign, the FT is offering a four-week free trial subscription to its print edition.
Like much of the newspaper industry, the FT has seen a softening in its print circulation. Average daily circulation stood at 390,121 in December, a 2.7 percent decrease year over year. About one-third of that was in the U.S. It’s had success charging for its digital content, though. Including digital, the FT’s total circulation was 585,681, up 4 percent year over year, for the second quarter, according to the paper.