Autumn 2011 saw Polo Ralph Lauren’s month-long solo-sponsorship of the New York Times iPad app.
This initiative was a takeover that included branded video content, exclusive personal Ralph Lauren content ranging from his car collection to his poetry, as well as a seamless online shopping bag built directly in to the app’s ads.
Polo Ralph Lauren bought a solo sponsorship of The New York Times iPad app during the whole of September, providing free access to five sections and running ads that, among other things, provided the only live video of its Fashion Week runway show on 15 Sept.
It’s the first time a single marketer has bought out the app, which usually hosts six advertisers at once; the first time a marketer has gotten its pay meter suspended, if only for the Fashion & Style, Travel, Home & Garden, T Magazine and Sports sections; and the first time the app has hosted live video of any kind, according to the Times, either in ads or news coverage.
The main creative of the campaign is an ad that expands to offer a catalog-like experience and e-commerce capabilities. Video of the runway show remains available for replay after it streams live.
Roughly 850,000 people use the app in a month (according to The New York Times itself), so this is a fairly tightly targeted initiative that focuses on a small number of high net worth individuals.
“Ralph Lauren was the first advertiser to really do major 24-page ‘story’ advertisements in The New York Times Magazine,” said David Lauren, exec VP-advertising, marketing and corporate communications at Polo Ralph Lauren and son of the company’s founder.
“My dad would run these big cinematic advertisements about safaris or the American West, and it helped to define the brand. Years later again our company took on 52 pages — basically page 5 of Sunday Styles every weekend. That’s become part of the new way of reaching our customer. The question was what we could do as we enter the digital age. Obviously you’re always offered a simple ad following another ad. We said, ‘That’s not what we want.'”
Suspending the pay meter around five sections builds on Lincoln’s earlier deal to offer unlimited subscriptions to NYTimes.com for the rest of this year.
This is just one of the ways newspapers publishers are being more flexible and open to brand backed advertising and marketing experiments.
Could an advertiser strike a deal to unlock the iPad app entirely?
Well, according to Denise Warren, senior VP and chief advertising officer at the New York Times Media Group and general manager of NYTimes.com, they could.
“Sure,” Ms Warren said. “We’d be open to just about anything.”