Klay Thompson Campaign for Bay Area News Group
2018 Finalist

Klay Thompson Campaign for Bay Area News Group

Bay Area News Group

San Jose, United States

Category Readership and Engagement

Overview of this campaign

The newspaper industry and especially the metro legacy newspapers are being challenged daily with declining profits and print subscriptions.   The only way that the regional papers such as The Mercury News and East Bay Times (San Francisco Bay Area) will survive is by being aggressive and including a lot of experimenting and innovation in their brand marketing strategy. 

The Bay Area is a great place for a sports fan with quite a few very successful and well known pro sports teams and our research data shows routinely that most of our subscribers are also huge sports fans.  Our sports reporting is world-class and our sports section is one of the best in the country. 

In the spring of 2017 the marketing team at Bay Area News Group (The Mercury News and East Bay Times) decided to try something out-of-the-box for the newspaper industry standards: to sign an admired local sports hero,  a two-time NBA champion and four-times all star Klay Thompson (The Golden State Warriors) to become Bay Area News Group spokesman and a brand ambassador for the daily newspapers. 

Although athlete endorsement is not a new concept in advertising and marketing, it is unusual and innovative for the newspaper industry, and the reason why we were able to break through the noise in the past few months!  This endorsement was also spot on because it really resonated with our current subscribers who are Warriors fans, those who are into sports in general, and garnered new subscribers who are not currently subscribed to our products.

The goal for the campaign was two-fold:  1) Increase brand awareness for the daily news brands The Mercury News, East Bay Times and Marin Independent Journal and the parent brand  Bay Area News Group 2) increase print readership, specifically the 7-day offer.

Results for this campaign

The Klay Thompson campaign (Klayoffer.com) raised an incredible amount of buzz since its launch in late October, being featured on  ESPN, USA Today, Reddit, The NBA Ringer Show and Editor and Publisher.   We were able to drive 50,000 visits to the landing page that drove over 2,000 starts (both print and digital). The slogan for the campaign was based on the actual authentic pre game ritual of Thompson to read the printed newspaper.  It states:  “Start a new ritual, read the paper”.  It is the authenticity and the sincerity of the campaign that brought it success, lots of positive brand mentions and new customers.  

Our voluntary subscription rates are up, so is retention and new starts.  All channels report higher sales numbers:  crews and kiosk sales report greater volumes of 7-day full price orders which are driving the revenue. The projected brand lift from earned media (Comscore): UV's for the sites who featured the story show 117M/46% reach for multimedia and 32M/15% reach for desktop only which is incredible for a regional newspaper. 

The campaign included OOH (TV, radio, outdoor), in-house print ads, a robust paid digital campaign (programmatic, social, search, retargeting), and an aggressive email campaign.  

The campaign also included posts by Klay Thompson (Twitter - 68K views, Facebook - 2700 views and Instagram - 220K views) 

We received a lot of positive feedback from our own subscribers who appreciated the fact that we are investing in our news brands and sending the message to the younger generation about how important it is to stay informed and use verified sources for your news. This was also a crucial initiative from the retention standpoint. As one of the retention initiatives, our internal phone system (IVR) featured Klay Thompson's voice with the message about the importance of reading the paper. 



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