125-year-old FT bids to appeal to younger audience

The Financial Times is using its global 125th anniversary marketing campaign to try and make the brand appeal to younger audiences and reach those in markets where the newspaper has not typically built a big following.

Financial Times uses 125th birthday to highlight modern side to brand.

The newspaper turns 125-years-old today (13 February), which is being marked with a global print, digital, experiential and outdoor campaign created by adamandeveDDB, carrying the strapline “still guiding the way for global business”.

Catherine Jacklin, The FT’s director of global brand and B2B marketing, says the campaign (pictured) demonstrates the newspaper brand is a “continued presence within the market”.

“Our core objectives from 1888 still guide us today and we felt that an importance stance for us to take – considering everything that’s going on in the media industry at the moment – is to be trustworthy, accurate and experts in our field. We are making sure the brand delivers on those key phrases and that this anniversary activity is not seen as indulgent, but marking 125 years of the business and demonstrating out continued relevance to a global audience,” she adds.

The experiential element of the campaign kicks off with a pink hot air balloon – the same colour as the paper – that will fly above and be tethered in London today, allowing people to ride on it. The newspaper’s office in London Bridge is also being lit pink.

Activity will continue elsewhere across the globe later this year. In April the FT will fly what it claims is the first tablet-shaped hot air balloon over New York City.

Also in the city, the paper will light up the Empire State Building pink and editor Lionel Barber and CEO John Ridding will ring the New York Stock Exchange closing bell.

Several of the FT’s biggest advertisers, including Santander and Credit Suisse, have taken out full-page ads in the newspaper today to wish the title a happy 125th.

The FT is also offering a special anniversary deal of $125, £125 or €125 for a one-year subscription to its website – a saving of around 54 per cent. It will also hope to appeal to loyal subscribers by offering them a book with 52 classic interviews from the past 12 decades.

Jacklin says she hopes the plentiful activity, which marks the FT’s “most far reaching and integrated campaign”, will appeal not just to a business audience but to emphasise that everyone is touched by business.

She adds: “We have been perceived in the past as perhaps just a content provider for the global c-suite but we think good business is everyone’s business.

“The biggest thing for us is engagement. With our existing audience we will be looking at page views and recognising when users turn to subscribers, but we’re also looking to increase our audience reach to new people and broadening out or demographics – to 18 to 24-year-olds or markets in which we haven’t grown as quickly.”

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