The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) has launched a campaign begging consumers to have a digital-free Sunday. The paper, owned by Cox enterprises, rolled out the over $1 million campaign this week with the tagline "Unplug. It's Sunday." The campaign is to promote the Sunday newspaper as a way to escape the ringing of cell phones, e-mail notifications, IM, and all of the other digital devices that "clutter" our work weeks. Instead of reading the news on an RSS Feed, we can lug out the seven pound paper and spend some quality time getting newsprint on our fingers. Nice. The campaign is slated to run for the remainder of the year.
Perhaps the funniest (or dumbest) thing about this story is that Cox Enterprises chose a digital agency to lead consumers back to print. The AJC tapped IQ Interactive, an Atlanta digital agency. Weirdly, we can digitally view this couple reading the traditional newspaper, which is like Xeroxing a mirror (don't do it, you'll go back in time). The fully-interactive microsite gives off that "peeping tom feel," staring into someones home from a bay window. A couple is sitting on the couch reading the paper, and "Tom" can move from room to room, opening cabinets, running water, and even taking bread from a shopping bag. Voyeurism does have its advantages...
There are other media components to the campaign, including; print, TV, radio, online, point-of-purchase, direct mail, and out of home.
"It's about how to reposition the newspaper," said Tony Quin, CEO of IQ Interactive, the independent Atlanta digital shop
that created the campaign. "We came up with the idea as a counterpoint to the digital cacophony that exists in everyone's
lives. Sunday is the day to relax and do something different than you do the rest of the week."
The AJC has fared no better than the rest of the newspaper industry; the paper's circulation dropped twenty percent in the last year for weekdays and Saturdays, and seven percent on Sundays. Earlier this year, the AJC cut 30% of the news staff.
The takeaway: although the marketing team will be gone next year after this debacle, they did show foresight by using forms of media that actually reach the consumer. Just another bullet point for the ol' resume.