The advertisement uses bold red and blue imagery to highlight the country’s political division and uses research to back up the claim that the masthead is America’s most trusted newspaper “no matter what side you’re on”.
The WSJ’s global marketing director, Paul Plumeri, says the major pillars of the mastheads communications are trust and integrity. The trust campaign is designed to complement the Journal’s continuing aspirational brand campaigns.
“Trust and truth and facts and partisanship – it’s a very complicated time to be a news brand, let alone a reader of news. You try and find new ways of positioning amongst all of that,” Mr Plumeri told NewsMediaWorks.
“At the top [of the WSJ’s brand] you have ambition, in the middle you have all of our great reporting but underneath all of that has to be trust. If you don’t earn trust, then all the other things don’t mean much. I hope to continue to use the trust campaign as a way to underpin a lot of the more aspirational brand work we do.”
The Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2018 released in June shows that the WSJ is the most trusted print news brand along partisan lines in the US. The data reflects the earlier findings of the PEW Research Center and YouGov.
“Now that there is a body of research that proves this, how do we do this in an ad that communicates this very quickly?” said Mr Plumeri, explaining the Journal’s approach to the campaign.
“The core message of the campaign is that “no matter what side you are on, you can trust us to do what is right by you.”
The “simple and big” out-of-home ads are currently appearing in Manhattan and will be followed by a more in-depth, animated video campaign, which will take a more data-driven creative approach to encourage readers to research further. The second trust campaign will be more targeted through social media and display advertising.
Mr Plumeri compared the campaign to the brand positioning of competing news organisations, namely The New York Times’ “Truth” campaign and The Washington Post’s “Democracy dies in darkness”, saying the WSJ was not interested in a politically-charged campaign.
“There is a growing centrist audience that is becoming fairly sick of [partisan] journalism and that style of discourse. I think that trust is real important as people increasingly want to turn to news organisations that are telling both sides of the story and leaving it up to people to figure it out for themselves,” he said.