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Today the T-P rolled out what the Wall Street Journal reports* is “a $1 million marketing campaign—the first in as long as anyone can remember—to make the connection between the paper and website clearer.” Here’s how it was announced on today’s front page:

The first ad appeared on page A-6:

In this ad “the connection between the paper and website” is illustrated by a photographer stepping out of the newspaper through a series of digital devices – tablet, laptop, and smart phone – while a companion scans her own tablet.

Looks great, but uh, waitaminute, what is wrong with this picture?

Well, for starters, the symbolism is all wrong. The photographer is stepping out of the newspaper into the electronic devices. But he should be going in the opposite direction, because “digital-first” means that most if not all content will appear online first and then (maybe) find its way into the print edition. (I suppose it could be argued that the illustration is intended to represent progress, where the T-P is moving from the print age into the digital age, but that’s not how it struck me.)

A closer look reveals that the photographer is not very well acquainted with his equipment, since he is holding two telephoto lenses together end-to-end in front of the camera he is shooting with (duh … this doesn’t work in the real world). Also, one of the two cameras he has slung over his shoulder appears to be a film camera, and the T-P stopped using those about ten years ago. Finally, would it be too picky to point out that the other camera hanging at his side is a Nikon, but the paper switched to all Canon equipment after Katrina? Jeez, I hope this guy doesn’t actually work for the paper!

In short, the ad makes a strong, but ultimately confusing, impression. Given the way NOLA Media Group has handled the publicity surrounding its new strategy so far, this is not surprising.


* Nonsubscribers to the WSJ website may not be able to view the full text of the referenced report.