Sunday, October 02, 2005

BBC 's "News for a Non-stop World"

While perusing the BBC's 2005 Annual Report and other documents this morning, I stumbled across a press release week announcing the launch of BBC's online marketing campaign -- News for a Non-stop World -- aimed at the US and Western Europe audiences. Apparently it will last six months starting last week. (The release notes that more than 50 percent of the international audience for bbcnews.com is in the US where "there is a demonstrable demand for international news; an alternative and additional perspective on world events - in addition to that provided by local suppliers.")

In language slightly reminiscent of Daniel Lerner's old formulations, the Beeb will be targeting "inquisitives," a newly developed marketeer's term for an audience that is "grabbing short bursts of time from their bosses by going online at work, and deploys an innovative approach to creative and media, including relationships with messenger services and RSS feeds direct from the BBC's news site." (Interesting aside: In an interview published in Chris Patterson and Annabelle Sreberny's edited volume, International News in the Twenty-First Century, BBC's Chris Westcott also categorized BBC online audiences into "cosmopolitans" and "aspirants." Wonder how this development language would translate in Murdochland audience categories?)

Alan Booth, Controller of Marketing at the BBC's international radio and online division, BBC World Service, was quoted as saying: "Research we commissioned into online news users reveals that aimless surfing is a thing of the past . . . In some ways people access online news sites instead of having a cigarette. And this must be much healthier. And they are accessing specific sites and portals because they know exactly what it is they want to see.

AdWeek says the campaign will feature BBC headlines as banner ads on the Washington Post and the New York Times among others. I find this telling --the BBC will be advertising its high quality FREE content on the NYT which recently decided to start charging for the priviledge of reading Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, etc. Booth told the trade magazine: "Simply having a good message isn't good enough . . . We feel they're more likely to click through on headlines than if we just had a great slogan or piece of creative." This will be "using the news to sell the news." Note: CNN had a similar campaign in June.

The BBC was described last fall as "fishing" in a previous ad campaign for US audiences who wanted a broader view of the US elections.

Yahoo News reported that Reuters had a similar deal with Diet Coke:
"In a six-month campaign that began last month, Reuters helped create banner ads for Diet Coke that display a real-time customized feed of "feel-good" stories selected by a Reuters editor. Clicking on the headlines takes users to an article page in a branded Diet Coke area on Reuters.com. They can also receive the RSS feed on their cell phones or add it to their feed reader, and the Diet Coke-branded feed has even run on the Reuters sign in Times Square."

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