The New York Times marketing effort, “The Truth Is Worth It,” has been earning accolades in the lead-up to Cannes. Meanwhile, the campaign today debuts its first experiential work, centered on the idea that “The Truth Is Local.”
On Monday, New Yorkers will find interactive storefronts bringing to life real Times headlines in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. Each will highlight stories reflecting how New York Times reporting impacted their respective boroughs. A key part of the activations will be QR codes that call up podcast-like recordings with Times journalists, who walk readers through their experiences and trials in reporting their stories, which cover topics such as racial inequities in the school system and injustices in the legal system.
One installation in Brooklyn, for example, illustrates a story about how corruption in the police and justice departments led to the imprisonment of an innocent man and features a jail cell that eventually lights up to represent captives becoming free.
The experiential work will run from June 10 through June 24 and debuts alongside the brand’s latest “The Truth is Worth It” ad from Droga5, which details how reporters Brian M. Rosenthal, Emma G. Fitzsimmons and Michael LaForgia uncovered how corruption in the MTA led to the system’s failures.
Overall, the new work aims to reinforce the role Times reporting has played in locals’ lives for almost 170 years and to remind people of what they support when they subscribe. It coincides with The New York Times’ commitment to double down on local journalism: Metro Editor Cliff Levy created a new city investigative unit following the desk’s recent coverage of the collapse of New York City’s taxi industry, reporting that will be highlighted in the campaign’s Manhattan installation.
“The Truth Is Worth It” has aimed to bring the product and marketing together, David Rubin, CMO, says. “We’re now in a relationship business, trying to get people to subscribe, but that only happens when the consumer really understands and feels connected to the thing they are buying,” he says.
The experiential campaign is another step in cementing that connection. He says the latest ad from Droga5 on MTA corruption served as the internal team’s inspiration for creating a specific push on local reporting. “This is an attempt to see if tailoring the ‘The Truth Is Worth It’ story to New York will make a difference,” he says.
Moreover, the new campaign was a chance to try something new marketing-wise and package the concept of The New York Times’ ads “in a more physical, tangible experience and see if that works for us.”
To create the “The Truth Is Local” experiences, The New York Times’ internal marketing team collaborated with an experiential design studio, whose name, coincidentally, is Local Projects. Its clients have included The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, The City Museum of New York and The National September 11 Memorial and Museum, for which it helped to conceive the overall museum design and multiple multimedia exhibits. The company has a track record of “creating experiences people want to interact with, that ultimately leave the person feeling they understand the world better,” Rubin says. “We didn’t want to create just a marketing experience, we wanted to create a journalistic experience.”