Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Breaking: Tierney to end readership decline, engage a new, young audience with, what else, a new advertising campaign by Gyro

We're guessing you’ve seen (or perhaps heard) some of the advertising for the new Philadelphia Media Holdings venture, Phillycars.com. (If not, you can watch a commercial at the end of the post.)

Turns out Tierney hired the local bad-boy ad agency, Gyro Worldwide, to run the campaign. And, potentially, to do a lot more…
The campaign is for Phillycars.com, a Web site introduced on New Year's Eve by Philadelphia Media Holdings. That's the company led by the local entrepreneur Brian P. Tierney, which in June bought the Philadelphia properties that were formerly part of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain from their new owner, the McClatchy Company.
Gyro Worldwide was familiar to Mr. Tierney because for many years he competed against the agency: He ran Philadelphia shops like Tierney Communications before leaving the industry and subsequently forming Philadelphia Media Holdings.

"When he got the papers, we were hoping we'd get a phone call from him," says Steven Grasse, chief executive at Gyro.

When the call came, "we discussed a project about trying to get new readers, young people not reading the papers," he adds, "then he had a more immediate need, Phillycars.com."
And from Gyro:
Local legend, Brian Tierney, took over the Philadelphia Inquirer and promised to make big changes.

And, wouldn’t you know it, one of the first things he did was hire GYRO worldwide. GYRO = Big Changes!

There are many projects in the works. However, the first to launch is Phillycars.com... a massive local car buying site designed to compete with sites like cars.com and vehix.com.
Super. Seriously, it’s great that Tierney’s prepared to advertise using a slightly non-traditional agency and everything… but let’s not forget that if you want people to actually read the paper, you have to actually spend money on its content.

As for the Phillycars campaign:
…the Phillycars.com campaign has a youthful feel because "people who buy cars online tend to be younger," Mr. Grasse says. "I think we're talking to a new generation of car buyers," he adds, so the ads are infused with "personality and vitality."

Mr. Michael's song is perfect for the campaign, Mr. Grasse says, because "it's vibrant" and all about "'hometown hip, hip hooray' and Philly pride."

He found the song, he adds, when executives he knew from Downtown Records "came to us and said: 'We have an artist who has this song, "Philadelphia." What can you do with it?'"

In a neat bit of synergy, the cover art that Gyro designed for Downtown Records for the CD single release of "Philadelphia" depicts the word in the same typeface as it appears in the logo of The Inquirer.

Mr. Grasse says he would like to "use the song as the theme song for the entire Philly.com Web site, not just for Phillycars."
The elements of the campaign meant to remind computer users of the local aspects of Phillycars.com are laid on as thick as the icing on the Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets sold by Philadelphia’s own Tasty Baking Company.

For instance, the TV and radio commercials feature a song, "Philadelphia," by a local singer, Kevin Michael, signed to a local label, Downtown Records. The TV spots are styled like music videos clips, intercutting scenes of Mr. Michael performing with local sights like the Schuykill Expressway and the streets of Center City, as Philadelphians call their downtown.

The commercials also show signs for roadways like the Pennsylvania Turnpike and neighborhoods like Chestnut Hill as well as mock vanity license plates.
What? No shout-out for Midtown Village? Shocking.

Philadelphia Media Holdings likes to keep it local [New York Times]
If hip were a state of mind, we’d, like, be the governor [Gyro Worldwide, Official Site]

1 comment:

Tom Durso said...

It's not a bad move, but it had better be a start and not an end. The people Gyro will be targeting aren't stupid -- they may be compelled by the ads to give the paper a try, but if it doesn't speak to them, they won't come back.