FT.com Launches First US Campaign

FT.com, the Web presence of venerable British newspaper the Financial Times, on Friday kicked off a $35 million national campaign aimed at extending its reach and brand awareness in the United States.

The television, newspaper, magazine, out-of-home and Internet ads will feature the tag line, “The world doesn’t turn on a dime.” BBDO New York developed the ads.

The campaign, the first in the US for FT.com, will attempt to distinguish the site from the multitude of other financial information publishers by highlighting its international perspective. It’s an interesting strategy in a country known as being focused on domestic business, since it comes at a time when the Internet is forcing many companies to adopt a global perspective.

“While the Web has made the business world global, being on the Web has done very little to increase US business people’s worldliness, or to change the way they think about business,” said Michael Foster, managing director of FT.com.

“FT.com is a global information source which provides an international point of view on business and financial events that can help business people thrive in the new economy.”

To counter the stuffy British image that FT.com may conjure in people’s minds, the company has hired Dan Aykroyd to bring humor to the ads. In the first spot, Aykroyd, playing the head of an American foam rubber company, negotiates with Italian businessmen over the sale of his company. Aykroyd agrees to sell his firm for what he believes to be the astronomical price of 11 million lira (less than $6,000).

Television advertising will run nationally on both broadcast and cable networks, and spot TV will be used in big business markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Print executions will feature headlines like, “Greeks, Chinese, Germans, Russians, Italians, Uzbeks, Namibians, Turks, Japanese and Americans all speak the same language. Money” and “Learn so much about Charles Schwab, you can call him Chuck.” The ads will use the distinctive pink color of the Financial Times newspaper.

Newspaper and magazine ads will run in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, Fortune, The Economist, and Red Herring.

Outdoor version of these ads will appear on billboards, bus shelters and telephone kiosks in key business centers and commuter centers in some markets.

The online aspect of the campaign will be created by BBDO New York’s @tmosphere. Initial online placements will include media properties within the Microsoft network.

Besides being FT.com’s first US campaign, this is the first developed for the site by BBDO New York since it was hired last November to be lead branding agency.

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