The latest newspaper readership and circ figures might not be much to boast about, but there’s plenty of life left in The Press according to advertising creative agency Simpatico. And to prove that point, it recently launched its direct marketing campaign ‘smell the numbers’, whereby the offices of 100 North Island media agencies were exposed to a pungent smell in a bid to encourage them to smell the positive readership numbers the newspaper has been generating.
Simpatico managing partner Marian Johnson says there’s been a lot of noise in the media about how digital is wiping out newspapers, but says The Press figures are bucking that trend completely, citing Nielsen’s Q2 2011 - Q1 2012 consumer and media insights report, which showed readership remained steady at 238,000 (the latest results show a slight dip to 235,000).
“You can believe anything that you want to believe about digital but actually the numbers tell the story,” says Johnson. “That’s why we chose the headline ‘smell the numbers’.”
Lucky, or perhaps unlucky media agency folk received packages containing a bottle of powerfully stinky smelling salts, together with a blurb on the readership results. Also included was a QR code click through to a micro site, which had the new readership figures and a call to action to win a $500 bar tab at the agency's favourite watering hole, donated by The Press. Although it was a Starcom Wellington employee who ended up winning the prize, Johnson says the website received 82 unique visits and 45 entries, a number she’s happy with considering it went out to 100 people (although the QR code also appeared on Admedia).
“The key to a good direct marketing campaign is to surprise,” she says. “We were looking for something that would be passed around — that people would talk about. We thought it would be a good way to get everyone talking about The Press.”
The Press is doing well in spite of the earthquakes and Johnson says the campaign was more about re-education than anything, targeted at North Island media folk that mighty not understand the role the paper plays in the Christchurch and Canterbury market, particularly after all of the earthquakes.
“It was targeted at people that don’t really understand the efficiency of using The Press to reach South Island readers in general, but also Christchurch and Canterbury readers in particular."
As for bookings effectiveness, Johnson says while she’s received feedback that it was a good joke, it’s too early to say if there’s been a rise in bookings just yet.