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Memo Pad: New York Times' Subscription Push... Mary Berner Opts Out...

New York Times Co. will be spending $13 million, mostly in promotional costs, on the newspaper’s new pay wall through the end of 2011.

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ALL AROUND TOWN: In an earnings call last week, New York Times Co. chief executive officer Janet Robinson said she’ll be spending $13 million, mostly in promotional costs, on the flagship newspaper’s new pay wall through the end of 2011. New Yorkers have begun to see those advertising dollars at work around town.

The Times is running a series of three posters on Metro North, Long Island Railroad, in taxis and on the subway (e.g. the 8th Avenue-bound L platform at First Avenue). The three iterations — designed around the theme’s art, world and style — make use of photographs taken by Times’ photographers. One shows My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way head-banging bright red hair; the second shows a student walking home near the border of Somalia and Kenya; and the third shows a runway model at Donna Karan's show last fall. All three versions have lots of intricate webby-looking graphics — interactive time lines, podcast buttons, video players, links to comment threads. The point seems to be: There’s a lot to click on at nytimes.com. The most prominent type on all three ads is the same: “Become a digital subscriber. For unlimited access to the finest journalism in the world. Anytime. Anywhere. On your computer, tablet and smartphone.”

The Times has also launched a complementary TV campaign, with two different spots that will run throughout 2011. One ad is a general advertisement for the New York Times Web site with a pay-wall hitch at the end. The second spot shows two readers, one an online subscriber and one a visitor to the site, going through their days. The subscriber seems way more distracted at work. “Get the world’s finest journalism in all its forms,” the voice-over proclaims. “Only one news organization covers the world like The New York Times, and that’s The New York Times.”

The Times contracted Rick Rabe of The Propellor Group as art director and Nat Whitten as a director and copy writer to work on the ads. In house, Times marketing group director for creative services Laura Langdon oversaw the campaign as executive creative director.

— Zeke Turner

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