Round two of Toronto Star‘s ‘Ask why’ campaign set for multimedia domination

If you thought the 'Ask why' ads were ubiquitous when they broke last fall, you ain't seen nothin' yet. While Lowe Roche refreshes the zingy proposition, Genesis Media will take a roadblock approach, along with behavioural targeting, to plaster the results pretty much everywhere potential readers might be lurking.

Scott Stewart, account director for Toronto’s Genesis Media, tells MiC that the Toronto Star has commissioned another phase of its provocative ‘Ask why’ rebranding campaign. Genesis is focusing on behavioural and contextual targeting, while Toronto’s Lowe Roche agency is resuming the creative work.

For the upcoming effort, Stewart says Genesis is taking a roadblock approach ‘to boost readership of the paper product and to accelerate the growth of the digital news audience. And we have two approaches: establishing continuity with the Ask Why proposition, and creating urgency for increased readership of the Saturday paper,’ which now stands at 645,200.

Ask why, the sequel, will kick off on Jan. 15 by resuming the regular 30-second base brand spots on TV and radio that were discontinued about six weeks ago. It will then move into what Stewart calls ‘new tactical’ initiatives that will stretch throughout March.

With TV & radio, he says the goal is to drive Saturday readership ‘by owning Thursday and Friday evenings from 8 to 11 pm.’ Plans for radio domination during those time periods are so ambitious Stewart says his team coined the term ‘infostitial’ – meaning that they’ve bought out the entire 120 seconds of 5:30-6 pm drive-home programming on Toronto stations CHUM-FM, CHFI and EZ Rock, beginning on Feb. 9 and continuing for three successive Fridays. On television, The Star will sponsor closed captioning on Toronto’s CFTO channel on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 to 11 pm, beginning Feb. 5 and continuing through March.

On Feb. 2, the print component of the campaign will begin with an innovative eye-catcher on the front page of the Friday edition of the Metro free daily. It’s a virtual Post-it note that will urge the issue’s 233,700 readers to extend their week’s news and info gathering to include the Saturday Star. This component will continue over the three following Fridays.

Meanwhile, beginning Jan. 29, the roadblocking strategy will also hit hundreds of elevator screens in the Greater Toronto Area operated by the Captivate Network. In addition to a base buy for The Star between 7 am and 7 pm, frequency will be tripled between 7-11 am with messages driving Internet-savvy office workers to the

Stewart says an online component to the second phase of the Ask Why campaign is in the works. ‘We’re looking at prime sites like MSN and Yahoo to identify who our opportunity target is and where they are online. Then we can determine how we can best reach them to reinforce as a destination site for the content we know they’re continuously searching for.’