NNN Takes Aim at Mags, TV in Ads

NEW YORK A new, $1 million ad campaign for the Newspaper National Network LP—the most extensive and expensive in its history—breaks today from Della Femina Rothschild Jeary and Partners in trade magazines and online.

One of the ads reads, “Your national TV ad campaign makes sense…on paper.” Another boasts, “Nobody wakes up and says, ‘I gotta have some coffee and a magazine.’ “

The changed media landscape called for a new positioning for the newspaper company-owned NNN, said Jason E. Klein, its president and CEO. As a brand-building medium, newspapers still take a back seat to TV and magazines, but for cost-effective reach, newspapers beat other media. “There are still many major advertisers that don’t understand how you can effectively use newspapers [in a national ad campaign],” he said. “TV’s gotten so fragmented, it’s difficult to get reach without spending a fortune.”

Klein said the ad campaign is unlike past marketing efforts in the organization’s nine-year history. “The whole concept of the NNN has not been well understood,” said Klein, a magazine-industry veteran. “We’re no longer focused on the benefits of the NNN as a one-stop shop; we’re focused much more on newspapers and the NNN as a bigger piece of the media mix.”

The NNN hopes to capitalize on what has been the lone bright spot in an otherwise anemic newspaper ad-spending environment, as well as fast-rising upfront TV rates. Spending on national newspaper advertising grew 8.4 percent to $3.8 billion in the first half of the year, while total industry ad spending grew 1.7 percent to $20.9 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

The NNN work, which also will appear later in newspapers, will run through the end of the year. It coincides with the organization’s plans to expand its target ad categories from four to 15.

Ad buyers applauded the NNN’s effort to compete more directly with other media, but warned of obstacles. “They need to prove effective and efficient CPMs to compete against local media,” said Steve Greenberger, svp/director of print media for Zenith Media. Klein said the NNN will measure the campaign’s success against advertising decision makers’ perceptions of newspapers over time, as well as against national newspaper ad spending targets.