General Electric (GE) took over The New York Times print edition on Tuesday, December 6. This marks the first time an advertiser got exclusive access to the NYT print in the company’s 171-year history.
The marketing campaign was coordinated with Giant Spoon, an LA and NY-based full-service advertising agency, and includes desktop and mobile activations. The campaign follows GE’s recent split into three newly created public companies, GE HealthCare, GE Vernova and GE Aerospace.
GE promoted the new companies through content created with the publisher’s T Brand content studio. The focus of the content is, well, focus itself. This was the common theme of the interactive experience developed with the studio.
But GE’s campaign is not interactive in the way you’d expect it to be. These days, when brands talk about interactive experiences, they’re usually describing activations in the metaverse. While it is a lucrative prospect for many brands from the entire industry spectrum, and possibly even the future of marketing, there’s still value to be gained from print and audio, as GE has set out to prove.
In addition to mobile and desktop activations, GE took over “The Daily,” a podcast from the newspaper company.
In this day and age when focus has become the most precious resource available to humankind, it’s getting more difficult to silence the distractions and get anything done. Among other things, GE’s takeover of The New York Times draws attention (pun intended) to the issue, while also advertising the recent split into three companies.
To achieve that, GE divided the information about the split into four “focus breaks,” which build on the issues surrounding focus and the necessity of breaks to maintain undivided attention.
The interactive experience includes Ken Blackburn’s foldable paper airplane. Blackburn is a four-time world record holder for keeping a paper airplane flying. There is also a Magic Eye optical illusion and Brendan Emmett Quigley’s circular crossword puzzle.
“Today’s takeover of The New York Times print edition underscores our belief that focus is a superpower, especially in an age where our attention is divided among endless input, and that focus is the key to delivering long-term value,” said GE’s CMO Linda Boff in a press statement.
GE’s split into three companies comes following a difficult year for the company, with the stock falling approximately 30% before July 18 when the company made the announcement. The new structure may just be what the multinational conglomerate needs to recover.