The Wall Street Journal’s New Ad Campaign Is Aimed at Ambitious Young Women

Publisher takes pro ambition, pro action stance

The Journal is going after the very types of people it would like as readers and subscribers. The Wall Street Journal
Headshot of Sami Main

The Wall Street Journal is delivering a message to young readers that good things come to those who don’t wait.

The publisher’s fast-paced, poppy new ad featuring a young woman who’s been on the go since birth is all about the ambitious, entrepreneurial generation who want to be their own bosses, the kind of people the Journal would like to have as readers and subscribers.

The new campaign, including the ad directed by Ellen Kuras, who went behind the camera for Netflix’s recent hit Ozark, launches today and is tied to the publication’s third annual Women in the Workplace event.

It features a female protagonist but should appeal to most Gen Zers and millennials, said Suzi Watford, Wall Street Journal evp and CMO.

“Those generations have a huge desire to make stuff happen,” she said. “Our readers can be both executives at the C-suite level and people coming to us earlier in their career who want to get quality reporting and information.”

Over the past year, WSJ added 300,000 global  digital subscriptions, reaching a total of 1.27 million. Digital subscriptions in Europe and Asia have grown 48 percent during the same period.

“Our digital subscriptions are the highest they’ve ever been, and we’re seeing real growth in both our student subscriptions and in our female audience,” said Watford, who was surprised when she saw the demographic breakdown that young people were willing to pay for actionable journalism.

“Companies like Netflix and Spotify have trained a generation to be happy to pay in the digital space for quality content,” Watford said.

The campaign will run as preroll ads, street stencils, train and subway takeovers, in the paper itself and across the web and was created with the agency The&Partnership. Watford hopes it speaks to the Journal’s pro ambition and pro action stance both internally and externally.

“People want and need a more diverse business leadership of the future,” Watford said. “This campaign is important for my team, too, to see themselves reflected in an ad about an excited, young, digitally savvy generation.”

The Journal’s most recent marketing campaign, “Make Time,” which launched in 2015, profiled business people and influencers like Tory Burch, Martin Sorrell, Karlie Kloss and as leaders who “make time to read The Wall Street Journal.”

@samimain Sami Main is social editor for Adweek, where she posts Adweek content onto social platforms and looks for creative ways to communicate what's new.