Simpatico urges Northern folk to wake up and smell the pungent readership numbers

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

“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

“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.

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