Jun 3, 2024 - Business

WSJ plans multimillion-dollar brand campaign amid newsroom changes

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Photo Illustration: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal introduced a new, multimillion-dollar brand advertising campaign on Monday.

The big picture: The campaign is in conjunction with editor-in-chief Emma Tucker's mission to reorient the Journal's newsroom around what she says is a "reader-first strategy," focused on areas where the media outlet can be most distinctive and reach younger audiences.

  • This is the Journal's first major brand campaign in years.

Details: The new campaign focuses on broadening the Journal's subscriber appeal to a wider set of business professionals, not just a small subset of finance investors or C-suite executives.

  • The campaign tagline, "It's Your Business," is meant to "shift the perception of the Journal that prospects may have. Those who think the Journal isn't for them," said Sherry Weiss, chief marketing officer of the Journal's parent company Dow Jones.
  • The campaign, she added, "showcases the 'why' behind our journalism and celebrates how the newsroom illuminates the real power dynamics at play and the impact those dynamics have on all of our lives."

Zoom in: The new campaign is backed by a multimillion-dollar investment in paid marketing, a spokesperson told Axios.

  • It includes out-of-home ad placements, such as billboards, office building signs and high-impact digital signs, in key markets that have been identified by the Journal as growth targets, including New York, Miami and Dallas.
  • Major ad placements will be placed throughout New York's Grand Central Terminal and an exterior takeover of Penn Station.
  • Because digital subscription growth is a priority for the Journal, the campaign also includes paid media spending across social apps, such as Instagram, TikTok and Reddit.
  • The Journal worked with its media agency, MediaHub, to identify growth targets for the campaign. It worked with a different agency, Mother, to develop the new creative and tagline for the campaign.

Driving the news: The campaign piggybacks off of changes announced by Tucker to the Journal's editorial structure.

  • Last week, the Journal laid off staffers as a part of that transition, drawing ire from the newsroom's unionized employees.
  • Tucker told staffers in a note that the company is "moving many of our U.S. News reporters to groups in which they are natural fits: Real estate moves to Finance & Economics; reporters covering state and local politics join the Politics team; Education moves to Life & Work."
  • She announced an expansion of the Journal's economics team into new regions and unveiled a new "National Affairs team" that will take on big topics—abortion, immigration, land use, guns, race.
  • U.S. News "will no longer be a standalone coverage area," Tucker said, adding that the Journal will be moving away from some of its local and regional coverage.

By the numbers: The Journal has 4.2 million active subscriptions, 3.7 million of those are digital-only.

Zoom out: More national newsrooms are refocusing their strategies on appealing to a wider set of customers now that the Trump-era subscription surge has died down.

  • The Washington Post last week debuted a new strategy to expand its subscription products to a wider set of customers. The Post's executive editor Sally Buzbee stepped down Sunday to make way for a new set of leaders to take on that editorial mission.

What's next: While the initial phase of the Journal's new campaign is focused on the U.S., Weiss said she believes the company has strong growth opportunities internationally and will look to expand the campaign in the future.

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