NY Times blog on NAA ad campaign: “Newspapers aren’t dead, they’re alluring”

FROM THE NY TIMES Media Decoder Blog comes this article on the Newspaper Association of America:

With more people getting their daily dose of news online through blogs and social media sites, traditional newspapers have gotten short shrift. Print is dead or dying, say media experts, and advertising can’t keep pace.

A new advertising campaign from the Newspaper Association of America seeks to change those views and focus on how reading newspapers — in their digital or print incarnations — actually makes users sexy.

On Monday, the association will announce a consumer marketing campaign that extols the virtues of newspapers, and by extension the news that they provide, as being something that makes people more informed, aware and savvy. “Smart is the new sexy” reads the tagline for the campaign, which was created by the Martin Agency, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

“Be able to find Iran on a map,” says one ad that shows an illustration of a woman reading a print newspaper at a table. “Know what the city council is up to behind closed doors,” it continues.

“There’s no question that newspapers are undergoing a significant transformation, and we wanted to underline some of that,” said Caroline Little, chief executive of the N.A.A. “It’s a campaign for what newspapers represent, whether they are in print, online or mobile.”

What they represent, Ms. Little said, are the ideals of an informed citizenry and democracy. The campaign also comes at a time when newspaper newsrooms have faced devastating financial and staff cuts. A weak print advertising market and smaller profit on digital advertising have exacerbated the trend. Some newspapers, like The New York Times, are experimenting with pay models while others are finding alternative revenue streams through things like daily deal Web sites.

“We all grew up assuming that the world would have the kind of journalism that newspapers provide,” said Mike Hughes, the president of the Martin Agency. “The fact is the financing model for newspapers has radically changed over the years. We have to be thought of in new ways.”

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