Luxury car brand hopes to gain the ‘thought leader’ demographic in its waiving of NYTimes.com paywall.
Many frequent NYTimes.com readers have received emails from the Ford luxury-car brand Lincoln, offering to waive the newly introduced paywall to NYTimes.com content for the remainder of 2011. Business Insider explains the supposed strategy behind the move:
The NYT gets its access fee without losing readers and Lincoln gets to target a specific demographic … and brand itself as a responsible company interested in news. Win-win-win.
The agreement waives (through the rest of 2011) a $15–35/month fee that readers will have to pay in order to read more than 20 articles on the site, beginning March 28. It also grants access to NYTimes smartphone apps that will be behind the paywall as of March 28. The text of the email sent to frequent NYTimes.com viewers reads:
Dear NYTimes.com reader,
As a frequent reader of NYTimes.com, you’ve demonstrated an uncommon interest in a wide variety of today’s most important topics. This makes you anything but average. In fact, it can’t help but make you “smarter” — just the kind of person we at Lincoln want to engage.
Though NYTimes.com will soon begin charging for unlimited access*, Lincoln is offering you a free digital subscription for the remainder of 2011. Enjoy all that NYTimes.com has to offer every day — investigative news and special reports, videos, blogs and more. It’s all yours at no charge, compliments of Lincoln.
Take advantage of this limited-time offer** to receive free, unlimited access to NYTimes.com.
AdAge reports that, in addition to its email campaign, Lincoln will also offer this incentive via targeted ads on NYTimes.com, hoping to reach an audience (of about 200,000 users) it finds integral to the future of the brand:
“We’ve been spending a lot of time with our media partners looking for ideas,” said Connie Fontaine, manager of U.S. Lincoln marketing communications. “Our brand is one that has a lot of great news and a lot to say but isn’t always heard. The Times did bring us this idea and we thought it was really relevant to the brand for a lot of reasons. The type of reader we’ll be able to engage through this program is a thought leader.”