by Darrell Dawson 18 July 2012
The “What’s in it for YOU?” multi-media campaign debuted during college football championship games, reminding readers the value their local newspaper offers.
Because of this, we at The Dispatch — more than ever — need to provide value to our readers. Every day. In fact, “value” was the core tenet we had to keep in mind as we set out to create our 2011 marketing campaign.
Any campaign we came up with (including the main theme and tagline) had to be broad enough to be incorporated into any communication with customers and potential customers for up to five years. At the same time, the campaign had to especially resonate with two core demographics that our circulation department targets for acquisitions: “lunch-bucket families” and “wired go-getters.”
When we originally sat down with our creative production firm, they offered many suggestions to use as a building block for our new campaign, including “Tomorrow, Delivered” (which was nice, but didn’t carry any inherent value statement), and “Know It All” (which struck us as a bit smug).
Eventually we hit upon “What’s In It For YOU?” This brand strategy gave us many chances to reply to our own question with answers that explained why Central Ohioans should be reading and subscribing to The Dispatch.
We wanted our TV spots to move quickly and be fun. They were shot with a first-person view as they moved through such locations as a coffeehouse and office. Each spot includes a number of different folks’ takes about what’s in The Dispatch for them (like our sports coverage, classifieds, valuable coupons, etc.).
The commercials premiered in early 2011 in time to run during the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) college football games.
During the initial thrust of our campaign, we echoed our TV and radio spots with print ads that focused on such features as our food section, movie reviews, and weekend activities guide. We also erected a 28-by-40 “What’s In It For YOU?” faux-front page wallscape near our offices that downtown visitors often take photographs in front of.
In addition to explaining why we’re valuable to readers, we were also charged with showing Central Ohioans that we’re more than just a newspaper. That we can provide the most access to the information they need — whenever they need it and however they choose to receive it.
Thus was born the campaign’s tagline: “Online. On the go. On your doorstep.” To illustrate this, we erected a second wallscape at the most popular and traffic-heavy shopping and lifestyle center in Columbus; it featured the tagline alongside giant versions of our print edition, our Web site on a laptop, and our app on an iPhone.
In August 2011, we tested for recall one of our “What’s In It For YOU?” print ads that tied into the relaunch of our Web site, dispatch.com. With this online panel, the print ad scored above average in the “Easy to Understand” and “Fresh Approach” categories.
“What’s In It For YOU?” continued to run alongside our Dispatch logo in all print, online, direct mail, and TV ads through June 2012.
Anecdotally, the campaign was a hit in town, with numerous readers telling us that they still love to read the print edition of The Dispatch and letting us know what's in it for them. In 2012, that’s the greatest metric: that Central Ohioans still value The Dispatch. That, after 141 years, they still look to us for the news, to uncover answers, and to bring them the pulse of our community.