By: Joe Strupp
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, vice president of 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 the 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.”
?We are extremely excited that NBC chose to showcase its fall season in The New York Times by using these innovative advertising units,? Denise Warren, senior vice president and chief advertising officer for The New York Times Media Group said in a statement. ?A campaign such as this comes about as a result of understanding our customers and offering them unique solutions to meet their needs.?
Also weighing in is John Miller, chief marketing officer, NBC Universal Television Group: ?We are always looking for innovative new ways to get our messages across.?
The massive NBC ad package comes less than a week after the paper launched another major ad deal with American Express, pegged on the recent decision to drop TimesSelect, the paper’s two-year service requiring online users to pay for access to columns and archives.
Despite having more than 225,000 online-only subscribers, the Times announced last week that it would drop the service, claiming more revenue and Web traffic could be generated through a free approach.
Haskell would not reveal American Express’s rate for the ad package, which included several full-page ads and an ongoing Web placement. He said the package, which launched Sept. 19, runs for three weeks.
Times advertising executives knew three months in advance that the TimesSelect paid service would be dropped, Haskell said, prompting them to launch an effort at recruiting advertisers specifically for the now free opinion pages and archives.
“In the past, we could not go out and sell our archives, we are now out talking to a variety of advertisers for ways to take advantage of that,” Haskell said, adding that he expects “significant advertising” for the now-free services.
“It might not be a massive big splash, but we have constant demand for advertising to reach our Op-Ed audience,” he added. “We are in conversations about 2008 packages and in conversations about October. It is really across the board.”