Jaguar has teamed up with US financial newspaper powerhouse The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) to open up its paywall and make its digital content free for all readers in an initiative called ‘Digital Open House’.
This 24-hour campaign, on March 29, sees free open access to all WSJ digital platforms’ premium content; including online website, iPad and tablet editions and mobile apps for smartphone readers.
The campaign gives prominent placement for a set of Jaguar ads. In addition to the Open House, Jaguar is running a wider marketing effort with the Journal, which will also include ads across The Wall Street Journal Digital Network that also includes MarketWatch, Barrons and SmartMoney.
This initiative follows similar WSJ sponsorships last year by Sprint, Citi and Acura.
This marks the first time the Journal has extended its Open House access to its iPad app and is also a first for combined full access via online, mobile and iPad. New users who download The Wall Street Journal for iPhone or iPad from the App Store, as well as current free registered users, will automatically have access to all content for the day.
“Working with advertisers to offer open houses has proven to be one of the most valuable and efficient ways to expose our premium content to new readers and potential subscribers,” said Alisa Bowen, general manager of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network.
“By extending the effort to include multiple touch points in a single day, we create an unprecedented opportunity to maximize exposure of our content and, subsequently, for Jaguar to expose their brand further and reach our high-quality audience on multiple screens.”
“By partnering with The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, we amplify this message by engaging consumers across the various digital channels that they interact with in their daily lives,” said David Pryor, Brand Vice President, Jaguar North America. “Whether it’s their laptop, iPhone or iPad, we are able to leverage the content of the publication along with its caliber of readers.”
For Jaguar the initiative is part of its new global brand marketing campaign ‘How Alive Are You?’.
The fresh initiative, run by the agency Spark44 (which Jaguar Land Rover part owns), focuses on Jaguars as ‘instinctively rewarding performance cars’ and aims simply to convince premium car buyers around the world that they produce the most appealing range of drivers’ cars on the planet.
The emphasis of the work is to show Jaguar in a modern context – hence the focus on the Wall Street Journal’s digital assets. The paper was one of the first to launch a comprehensive iPad version and has long been at the forefront of digital publishing.
So, instead of relying on the marquee’s impressive history and tradition, something that some may feel has been holding the brand back in recent years (in terms of perception rather than product), the ‘Alive’ campaign focus on the strength of Jaguar’s current lineup (XF, XJ and XK) and positions them as rewarding performance cars.
Alive aims to shine a light on the attributes of the Jaguar brand that makes it distinctive from its competitors and heightens brand awareness among a more youthful audience by connecting on a more personal level.
“In a world of mass market luxury, Jaguar cars stand out for the seductive effect of their design, their rich and warm luxury interiors and their arresting performance,” said Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s Global Brand Director.
“Jaguar is a brand for luxury consumers who are contemporary and open-minded, sophisticated and daring, with a desire for authentic, high technology, aesthetic, independent brands. Our product lineup combined with the Alive brand direction will define Jaguar in the modern era.”
As newspapers search alternative revenue models by putting premium content behind paywalls, marketers are opening that body of work back up with campaigns that provide readers with free access.
Is this kind of sponsorship strategy one that can find a solutions to the many problems facing today’s newspaper industry? Perhaps partially.
WSJ’s main US rival, the New York Times, has yet to pursue a similar paper-wide strategy, but it has been segmenting smaller windows of free, sponsored content on a section and platform basis.
For instance, last year the Times also ran a promotion in which car-maker Lincoln paid to subsidize subscriptions for 100,000 especially-engaged readers. That campaign followed last September’s Ralph Lauren sponsorship campaign that ensured the entire New York Times’ fashion and lifestyle sections were available for free on the iPad.
As paywalls become more commonplace, a debate may soon emerge about whether it is better to let advertisers pay to unlock the whole site for a period of time or only select pieces of it.
Which approach is more successful is hard to determine. After all, different papers have various levels of segmented readership and granular audiences.
However, a sponsorship across an entire site maximises both ad exposure and, for the moment at least, supporting PR coverage.
There is also the issue of whether such open house events will have a negative effect on existing annual paying subscribers.
Unlike, say the Ralph Lauren campaign, a brand like Jaguar, with such high value, expensive products to sell, will find it tougher to use such initiatives to actually retail cars.
Going forward, the news sites will likely have to decide how far they can push the promotions (might we one day see “paywall free Tuesdays” or Open House Fridays?) without offending paying subscribers.