Why digital clutter is driving brands to rethink the value of newspapers advertising


Last month, General Electric took over The New York Times’ print advertising for a day throughout the news, business and arts sections of the paper amounting to 22 full-page color ads as well as five partial pages.

The newspaper ads were meant to not only get readers’ attention in print but also cultivate chatter on social media about the brand. (The Times has never had a print or digital advertising space owned by one advertiser before.) It’s not clear how much GE paid for its takeover.

GE isn’t alone in wanting to get more attention from newspaper ads recently. Other brands like Equinox and Take 5 Oil as well as agencies like TBWA New York have taken a similar approach hoping newspaper ads generate social media buzz in an ever-more cluttered digital environment. (Equinox, Take 5 Oil, and General Electric — and its agency Giant Spoon — declined to answer follow-up questions from Digiday. The New York Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

“It’s the power of doing something in print, making the statement, getting the logic right, and then knowing that it’s going to go viral,” said Rob Schwartz, chairman at TBWA New York Group, who added that creativity of a print ad is the strategy for brands to keep its readers’ attention before turning the page.

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