NYTimes Pulls out All the Stops for Philips

With a plethora of emerging ad venues to choose from, newspaper publishers are finding it necessary to go the extra mile for advertisers, and this week’s sponsorship by Philips of Times Select is no exception. To promote the sponsorship of The New York Times’ normally subscription-only site section, the publisher has allowed the first-ever advertiser logo to be placed alongside its homepage login area. The Times even went so far as to deploy street teams to distribute a print advertorial handout on behalf of Philips, maker of consumer electronics like Norelco razors and the Senseo gourmet coffee maker.

In turn, Philips is promoting the Times Select sponsorship prominently on its USA homepage. The opinion content will be free courtesy of the sponsor through this Sunday.

“This is a great example of how we are working across platforms to innovate for our clients,” said New York Times VP Advertising Alyson Racer. “The full 360-degree circle around it was very attractive to Philips.”

The site’s “Fixed Big Ad” unit is promoting the sponsorship on the homepage of NYTimes.com. The ads, which read, “”Simplicity is reading any of today’s articles. Free,” links to a full page interstitial which automatically loads the exclusively Philips-branded Times Select section after seven seconds. Other ads are running throughout the site, as well as on The New York Times Company’s International Herald Tribune site.

The Philips logo sits beside the Times Select logo adjacent to the user login area at the top-right of the homepage. “We wanted to make it really visible,” said Racer, adding, “This is the first time we’ve put [an advertiser] logo at the top of our page.”

Philips has tailored the broader “Sense and Simplicity” campaign to the paper’s New York readership, particularly through traditional elements. The print paper featured a center ad “spreadvertorial” in its main news section as well. In addition, a four-page advertorial component was distributed on the streets of the city. Both featured “simple tips” from Philips to make maneuvering through NYC a little easier.

The electronics firm’s related Web section, titled “Simplify New York,” includes links to sites for services such as The Container Store, Menu Pages and Zipcar, as well as offering “Simple tips to getting around the city” and tipping rules for cabbies, sommeliers, and hotel bellhops.

Reportedly, Philips has planned to sponsor paid content areas since September on Wall Street Journal Online and the ESPN site.

According to Racer, Philips also ran ads on NYTimes.com in 2005. Though no further ad runs are planned for the advertiser at the moment, she said, “We’re obviously talking to them about a lot more ideas.”

For the Times, the goal of the content giveaway is to attract more subscribers to the Select section, access to which normally costs $49.95 per year, but is included with print subscriptions. The publisher also has promoted the free content offering through print and Web ads in other properties. “We wanted to give New York Times readers a chance to sample some of the richest content on the Web in a really important week; this is the midterm elections,” Racer said.

If the publisher collects enough new subscribers as a result of the free promo, she continued, “We will certainly consider [a similar sponsorship] again in 2007.” Still, she said, “I don’t think this is going to become a regular thing.”

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