‘Metro’ Enters NYC Newspaper Fray

NEW YORK Metro International hits the streets here this morning with 300,000 copies of its free Metro newspaper and a marketing campaign that aims to grab young commuters.

The fledgling daily is not just calling out fellow freebie AM New York, which launched last year and has a daily circulation of about 200,000, but is taking aim at paid offerings as well, including The New York Times, New York Daily News and the New York Post, said MI vice president of marketing and research Toby Constantine.

“This is a very crowded and cluttered marketplace,” Constantine said about the New York launch. “But we have some experience over the years and across the world doing this successfully, and we’ve put an awful lot of planning into the New York launch.”

MI, which distributes 38 editions in 16 countries, has been working for nearly three months on the marketing campaign with The Media Kitchen, a unit of MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners in New York.

“We’re trying to be very appropriate to the New York psyche and to tap into the harried lives that New Yorkers have,” said Paul Woolmington, chairman and CEO of The Media Kitchen. The agency’s Lime Public Relations and Promotions unit is spearheading much of the campaign’s guerilla efforts as well as pr.

This morning 350 young, fashionably uniformed people begin distributing the paper to rush-hour travelers on subways, buses and commuter trains, Constantine said. It also will be available Monday through Friday in branded street dispensers, at highly trafficked transportation hubs such as Grand Central, Penn Station and Times Square, as well as points in the outer boroughs, Long Island and New Jersey.

In a nod to rush-hour priorities, free coffee and copies of the tabloid will be given out at Metro trucks. Rush-hour DJs, including Howard Stern, will mention the paper as part of a paid promo.

Wild postings and phone kiosk signage, created with McCann Erickson in London, will abound, Constantine said. The poster campaign particularly targets media buyers with outdoor space bought near major ad agencies, he said.

MI said it has signed nine advertisers for the first issue of Metro. With existing Boston and Philadelphia sibling papers, a package buy exists for media planners, Constantine said.