The Verdict: The Globe and Mail’s relaunch

UM’s Maurice and MediaCom’s Najman weigh in on the Globe’s glossy new face, cross-platform strategy and what it all means to media planners and buyers. 

You couldn’t throw an iPad last year without hitting a headline on the death of print, so when the Globe and Mail unveiled a new look and strategy last October, it was only natural people were skeptical.

In fact, as Phillip Crawley, CEO, Globe and Mail, told the crowd at the recent World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) 2011 Printing Summit in Mainz, Germany, he often feels like “the last man standing touting print.”

Since the October launch of the Globe and Mail’s glossy new look, the newspaper has expanded its Globe Life section, introduced the magazine-like Globe Style, and executed big promotional campaigns behind both products.

Now six months in, the redesign is already delivering results, said Crawley. The newspaper has seen a jump in circulation of 4.4%, he told the WAN-IFRA audience, with 100 new advertisers in Globe Life and a sales bump of 45% for the section. Globe Style has increased its revenue by 125% since its launch and has attracted advertisers such as L’Oreal Paris, which isn’t typically interested in newspaper advertising, he said.

While the Globe weathered a storm of de-convergence when BCE purchased the CTV assets from CTVglobemedia, minimizing the one-stop-shopping for cross-platform CTV-Globe buys, it has upped its own digital and video content considerably with a redesigned and expanded website and mobile and iPad applications.

So, MiC wondered, now that half a year has passed, what do media agencies execs think of all the changes at Canada’s largest newspaper?

The Verdict: We asked Laura Maurice, manager, print investments, UM Canada and Stacey Najman, senior media executive, MediaCom to weigh in.

MiC: Will premium products like the new Globe and Mail be the boost traditional newspapers need?

LM: There were a lot of skeptics on the buying side when the Globe redesign occurred. They have gone beyond proving themselves as a premium newspaper and put out many offers in the market like no other. Their content speaks to all demographics and has something for everyone. They have really separated their offerings from others and stood out as a solutions provider.

SN: I think that there are two ways to approach this question – one would be from a readership perspective and the other from an advertising/revenue perspective.

With the change in how the younger demographics are consuming media, this redesign has certainly been important to ensure that the Globe and Mail brand touches various demographics through their various product offerings. The fresh, modern look and feel is certainly a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see how, or if, the redesign has changed the print reader profile.

From an advertising perspective, the redesign has certainly allowed for a fresher canvas and environment for brands to interact with the Globe and Mail audience.  While the change on the print side mimics more of a magazine look and feel, this won’t necessarily result in the replacement of the magazine. Magazines still have a longer shelf life and, in some cases, align with certain verticals. The full colour capabilities are a great advancement, but they haven’t necessarily made it a more cost-efficient opportunity to bring new categories or advertisers into the Globe and Mail. Again, until we see how readership has changed, we may not see a drastic change in which brands are using the Globe and Mail as part of their media support.

Has the Globe and Mail’s efforts to diversify in digital made spending money with them easier? Or harder?

LM: Expanding digitally was a must. Spending money with the Globe has become easier [because] more efficient Globe and Mail products mean we can find dollars from any part of the plan and there is more opportunity to tailor messages to the array of content available

SN (with Christina Martucci, interactive supervisor, MediaCom): It has definitely become easier to spend with the Globe and Mail now that we are seeing a stronger product. It has become easier to sell through to our clients now that the product is much more than local and global news online. Something like the new Style section allows for new fashion and retail clients to be more inclined to be associated with the Globe and Mail. Since we are able to measure everything online, we are also able to position this to clients as a ‘test and learn.’

MiC: Do these new digital products make the Globe and Mail a more compelling media buy, now that the big cross-platform packages (i.e. CTV plus Globe and Mail) aren’t available?

LM: For some clients I’m sure it is a plus. Big agencies can dissect a package however they see fit based on their daily client needs. The fact that it is a separate piece hasn’t changed the planning/buying process.

Offerings like the new online platform, mobile as well as the new iPad app, have piqued interest with clients. It’s a much easier sale, as new media is very intriguing to clients. Of course, some clients can be somewhat apprehensive about doing something new before anyone else, but because the Globe and Mail is a trusted brand, it makes it easier for clients to experiment with new opportunities.

I wouldn’t however, say that these digital offerings have been more compelling now that big cross-platform packages aren’t available because convergence never really played a big role. We rarely saw full circle packages presented that encompassed both CTV and the Globe and Mail.

As always we will continue to put together our recommendations to our clients that include the best opportunities for our target that meet our defined objectives and our client’s business needs. At times, this may mean that we will spend more with the Globe and Mail.