‘NYT’ Bows New Ad Unit for NBC Push

NEW YORK The New York Times offered a first in the paper’s advertising history Monday, the use of an advertising “spadia” flap approach to promote NBC’s fall premiere lineup.

The ad package, which one Times executive called “an enormous commitment on the part of NBC,” included the three-inch spadia flap on four section fronts, but not page one, as well as three full-page advertisements in each section.

“It shows that The New York Times is looking to create important advertising opportunities,” said Todd Haskell, vp, business development. “It is the first time we have done it.”

And apparently not the last. Despite the obvious small infringement into news content space, Haskell said the approach may be duplicated in the future. “We are open to doing this, it is not the kind of thing we would do all the time,” he said. “It is probably for just certain days of the week.”

Executive Editor Bill Keller did not return calls for comment on the approach. Haskell said Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “was fine with it.”

Haskell defended the “spadia” approach, saying it does not detract from editorial independence. “It is clearly advertising,” he said. “No one is going to think it is editorial. It is very easy to just turn the flap. People are used to unusual advertising units.”

John Miller, chief marketing officer, NBCU Television Group, said, “We are always looking for innovative new ways to get our messages across.”

The massive NBC package comes less than a week after the paper launched another major ad deal with American Express, pegged on the recent decision to drop Times Select, the paper’s two-year service requiring online users to pay for access to columns and archives.