When Cargill Inc. was looking to extend its corporate branding campaign to a new audience last year, USA Today was mentioned as a potential media placement.Ann Ness, Cargill's VP-corporate brand management and advertising, was skeptical. Formerly brand manager at Radisson Hotels Worldwide, she understood USA Today's power for travel industry ads, but she wasn't sure a Cargill ad would resonate with corporate road warriors since its campaign is primarily aimed at the food industry.
Today, she's glad she was persuaded into making a buy. After testing ads on USAToday.com, the company added print ads in the Gannett Co. flagship. Based on the feedback, the company is upping its commitment to both the print and online products.
"We've been pleasantly surprised," Ness said. "There's a certain noticeability, differentiation because [we're] not the typical USA Today advertiser."
Almost 25 years after its launch as the first national general-interest newspaper in the U.S., USA Today's ability to reach the business traveler with a colorful snapshot of the news remains strong. The paper is an attractive ad buy, not just because it reaches the C-suite but also because its audience extends to influencers and experts within an organization who can steer purchases, said Jeff Webber, senior VP-advertising for USA Today and publisher of USAToday.com.
Other new advertisers to the paper within the past year include Boeing, Nucor and Research in Motion. Webber's plan this year is to attract other new categories of advertisers, although he declined to provide specifics.
The news section remains the top draw for b2b ads, followed by the "Money" section, but Webber said all sections pull their weight for advertisers. "You can be in any section," he said. "Our readers read straight through the book."
Media buyers witness the power of the newspaper whenever they travel. They see business travelers ask for it at newsstands, read it while waiting to board flights and pass it around to other travelers while sitting on planes waiting to fire up their laptops.
"It has as great a profile as some of the other usual suspects like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times," said Lani Dawson, exec VP-media services director at Martin/Williams Advertising, Minneapolis. "The C-suite, they are travelers and on the road. They are picking it up and they are reading it, and that is the key."
With the recent redesign of USAToday.com, other advertisers may take Cargill's path and first test their ads on the Web site before venturing into the newspaper itself. But Vickie Szombathy, VP-media director at Starlink, said advertisers may not need an integrated buy. "The paper itself may live alone because it is so vibrant," she said. "It's a real strength of theirs."
2007 MEDIA POWER 50
|No. 1 The Wall Street Journal||No. 2 Google||No. 3 Forbes.com|
|No. 4 The New York Times||No. 5. CNET Networks||No. 6. Meet the Press|
|No. 7 USA Today||No. 8 BusinessWeek||No. 9 ESPN 'SportsCenter'|
|No. 10 Yahoo!|
|Top Newspapers||Top Business Magazines||Top IT Magazines|
|Top Trades||Top Web Sites||Top Broadcast|