NYT Ad Promotes Truth

NewYorkTimesTruthPrint3We don't expect The New York Times to advertise during the Academy Awards, but the company will for the first time this year. The topic is, "The Truth Is Hard."

The striking, 30-second black-and-white ad displays sentences starting with "The truth is our nation is more divided than ever." We see only words but hear multiple voices in the background increasing in intensity until The New York Times logo shows at the end, after a dramatic pause and blank screen.

An AdAge article called the spot "the publication's first-ever brand campaign in a decade" and quotes NYT Head of Brand David Rubin about the strategy:

"Picking a program that was high-profile and that would get people talking made sense for us," said New York Times Senior VP-Head of Brand David Rubin. "If one of our objectives was to insert ourselves in the debate that's going on that, frankly, we've been a part of, a high-profile media buy made sense."

And why a new brand campaign, now? "There's a national dialogue going on now about facts and truth and how does one know what the truth is," he said. "We saw an opportunity to be part of that dialogue. We also found in our research that people don't always understand what it takes to do quality original reporting, but when they do, when that becomes part of the dialogue -- about how one finds the truth and about the role journalists can play, they are more interested in supporting it."

An executive on the ad agency team, Droga5, said, "the truth is hard . . . It doesn't matter what side of the spectrum you're on politically." The ad comes in the midst of President Trump's criticism of the media as "fake news" and "an enemy of the American People!"

The commercial complements a print ad, shown here.  


  • What are the publication's objectives for this ad campaign? Consider company branding and the current political climate.
  • How effective do you find the spot? How well does it achieve its objectives?
  • Why did the company choose the Oscar's for the ad? Why not, for example, the Super Bowl?