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An updated holder gently coaxes older readers into the online world of news.

When Jung von Matt/Limmat acquired Swiss German-language newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung as a client, the creative agency had its work cut out for it. The paper is known for its publication history going back to 1780, its distinctive look, which like The New Yorker has scarcely changed since its inception, and its declining readership, thanks to the majority of its fans being older than 50. Now the paper is looking to get some attention for its online edition, and the agency decided the best method was to put a fresh spin on the newspaper holder, a popular accessory among traditional readers in Switzerland.

The agency sought to answer the question: “How can you ask a conservative audience about the advantages of a digital publication?” The answer, as it turns out, was respecting the old ways of reading while promoting the advantages of the digital format, such as its capacity to be more timely. The digitized newspaper holders use an LED board that shines through the wood, using an infrared transmitter to provide updates on stories from an RSS feed. Thus, newspaper readers in cafés will soon realize that online publications move faster and can provide updates on their printed counterparts. For example, while the newspaper wrote about the finals of the America’s Cup, the holder was able to announce the winner in real-time.

Though Jung von Matt/Limmat has had success with LEDs in the past (for example, with its Invisible Car stunt a couple of years ago), the low-tech aspect of this campaign stands out. The monochrome readout resembles many early digital stock tickers except for the elegance of the wood. The advantage of this approach is that it’s friendly and non-intimidating to the older audience. It also avoids the information overload that so many news websites are eager to provide, instead guiding readers gently into the up-to-the-minute digital world. See it in action below:

[h/t] Vimeo

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