NYTimes.com to Leverage Offline Brand with First Ads

New York Times Digital — the Internet arm of the venerable newspaper publishing company — Monday took the wraps off a campaign designed to brand its flagship Web property, NYTimes.com.

The multi-million dollar “Mind Over Chatter” campaign, the company’s first for the site, was designed by the New York office of Ogilvy & Mather and will leverage the New York Times‘s wide brand recognition to position NYTimes.com as a Web destination for intelligent and discerning surfers.

The campaign, which will also highlight the site’s up-to-the-minute news and information, is slated to run throughout 2000, although spokespeople said the company plans to extend it for an additional quarter.

Full-page “Mind Over Chatter” print ads — which feature creative themes like “Mind-Altering Substance” and “Omniscience, Updated Hourly” — will break in high-profile print publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and New York magazine.

The company said the campaign also will includes significant outdoor spends in the New York market, and interactive banner ads on several large Web properties, including Earthlink, GoTo.com, Juno and Knight Ridder Real Cities, among others.

“We’re pleased to be launching our first-ever branding campaign with a very distinct look and feel,” said NYTD’s vice president of marketing Craig Calder.

“We believe this campaign speaks to the quality of our audience, capitalizes on our inherent brand strengths, and positions NYTimes.com as the premier destination for high-quality news and information online. ”

The launch of the “Mind Over Chatter” campaign comes as content sites are being hammered by shortfalls in advertising revenue, and by investors eager to see them turn a profit.

“This campaign comes at a critical time for NYTimes.com and the marketplace in general,” conceded NYT Digital chief executive officer Martin Nisenholtz.

“While the market for Internet news and information is more competitive than ever, it is also becoming clear that a handful of brands will dominate the category in the long-term. This advertising campaign reflects that brand strategy, and positions us much more aggressively for the next generation of Internet media.”

Nevertheless, NYTD other officials were loathe to position the campaign as an effort to boost site traffic and ad revenue.

“This is a branding campaign for NYTimes.com, and is not in any way related to ad spending online,” said NYTD communications director Lisa Carparelli.

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