Friday, March 04, 2011

Urgent: First corporate brand campaign launched

[New logo and tagline replace familiar "G" logo]

In a new story, CEO Craig Dubow told USA Today that he wants the brand trade campaign to get "advertisers and others to see that Gannett properties attract local and national audiences," via different media, including the Internet, smartphones and tablet computers such as Apple's iPad.

To help make that point, the company's properties -- including USA Today -- will begin to prominently identify themselves as part of GCI, USAT says.

The campaign starts Monday. Today's announcement confirms recent Gannett Blog speculation.

As part of the campaign, GCI is introducing the tagline, "It's all within reach." Promotions will include the company's new logo in the Verlag typeface, replacing the long-used image of the letter "G" superimposed on a globe, seen below:

[Image: USAT]


  1. This effort reminds me of Knight Ridder's "Information for Life" campaign a decade or so ago. All the papers put across the bottom of their front pages the tagline "Knight Ridder: Information for Life."
    I don't think that effort made much of a difference. Knight Ridder is now extinct.

  2. Worst .... Idea ... Ever!

    Few people actually know what Gannett is, but most who do have a negative opinion of the products. Add in the stupid tagline and you might actually be marketing yourself as something to be avoided.

    What's more, this will only make the local advertising battles tougher. A lot of local business folk would rather spend their money on media they perceive as local than give it to a giant corporate machine. Playing down the corporate ties doesn't change anything but it does at least give the impression that you're a smaller entity. This virtually screams, "Advertise with us and we'll send your dollars back to Virginia."

    Hope they make up for the losses with increased national ad buys.

  3. Yes, for Craig, it very much is all within reach: a comfortably rich life and retirement, all made possible via the expense of the salable viability of the properties he oversees, and the careers and lives of those who once made them worthwhile. Cheers Craig! America is great, ain't it?

  4. 1:53 the statement that local advertisers don't want to advertise with corporate giants is soooo silly. Just about every tv station, newspaper, radio station, mobile and internet site is owned by a corporation. Your comment is so lame. Another example of a hater who has no real proof so they just make their argument up.

  5. Who the hell came up with this *brilliant* farce? This won't fix the company your driving into the ground, Dubow and Martore.

  6. 1:49 KR is extinct because they spent money like drunken sailors and had to sell their company. Lets see.... Gannett didn't take that strategy and they are still here. Yep, I see your point!

  7. "It's all within reach."

    Reminds me of the USAT tagline that was really a rip-off of Disney: "We're all in this together."

    Marketing by tagline doesn't work.

  8. Apparently, the problem is not that advertisers aren't choosing Gannett. The problem is that they just don't know about Gannett. Silly advertisers -- we're going to change their minds with a new logo and some commercials showing people with iPads and smart-phones...Did you hear Gannett has launched its own YouTube channel? That's right, it is 2005. And this is the forward-thinking that will command hefty year-end bonuses.

  9. Nobody cares who owns the newspaper. They care what's in the newspaper.

  10. I recently recalled the business history of a large Houston-based funeral home chain called Service Corporation International.

    During the 1990s, especially, it bought up many small family-owned funeral homes within cities across the country. SCI's dream was to boost their profitability through consolidation and efficiencies.

    Within a city, the funeral homes were organized in clusters around central hubs. Bodies were delivered to the hubs, where teams of embalmers and cosmeticians prepared them for delivery back to the individual funeral homes. This resulted in layoffs at the original funeral homes.

    Further efficiencies came through central buying: SCI bought caskets, embalming fluid, crematory urns, etc., in bulk to get big discounts. The company also owned or operated cemeteries, and sold headstones.

    But SCI got into serious financial trouble when it overpaid for the funeral homes, and the cost-saving efficiencies didn't always pan out. SCI was the inspiration for a similar company in the HBO series Six Feet Under.

    I'll let you draw any comparisons to other companies that have tried the same roll-up strategy around hubs.

  11. 1:57 -- I'm not saying that every local businessperson avoids buying from corporate giants. But, whether you want to believe it or not, there are many (go to a service club meeting some day) who would rather deal with someone locally when given the chance. You are right that most media are owned nationally, but most media go out of their way to lose the national brand and position themselves as "local." Haven't you ever wondered why that is. It's because they understand business people and realize being branded as part of a conglomerate makes them seem less approachable, caring, etc.

    If you were as smart as you seem to believe, you would already know this.

    Who knows? Maybe Gannett has tapped is aware of some new zeitgeist that has convinced every small businessperson to buy corporate. But I seriously doubt it.

    I guess the proof will be in the sales. If you're so confident, I encourage to stick all your retirement money into GCI today. I'll keep pulling mine out and we can compare notes in five years.

  12. If they get rid of the snazzy G with the globe, what are they gonna put on my President's Ring?

  13. I will miss the half-finished Death Star.

  14. If the implications for any part of this logo change were thought through, I imagine the President's Rings were included. That -- or Dickey is now slapping his hand to his forehead. (Hi, Bob!)

  15. I've given this a few minutes of serious thought, what's "It's"? What is it? What's currently out of reach? And when I figure out what the "It" is I need, why would I turn to Gannett? What have they done?

    However, "It's all within reach" does remond me of the Allman Brothers album "Eat A Peach". A potentially brilliant marketing campaign. Corporate is currently playing hide and seek in a raquetball court and cannot be reached for comment.

  16. Gannett is far from the only company to get sold the branding fixall by people with graduate degrees and lots of research. It is always sad to see money thrown after a dream instead of invested in something real. Gannett has made many of the smart moves in a tough environment, but this is disappointing. You can be sure there are plenty of people inside corporate that fought against this idea.

  17. You can thank Robin for this dead fish. Jeffrey Wilks also contributed, but he was late to the party. It's 99% Pence.

  18. Does anyone know how much Gannett paid for this logo and campaign?

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  20. At the risk of dating myself, I believe the globe in the old logo may have tied into a previous Gannett slogan: "A world of different voices where freedom speaks."
    Boy, this is silly stuff. I suppose the fearless leaders have convinced themselves that the company should have a national brand to make it a player with online organizations like AOL, Yahoo, etc. Anybody think it will work?

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Who is Jeffrey Wilkes? Does Gannett finally have that CMO they've been searching for years?

  23. Mary Ann Christiano and Ed Cassidy put this campaign together. Robin Pense have put them in charge to bully all facets of Gannett to start using the campaign or else.

  24. I will try again.

    Well, I am just a reader, but I blogged on the reader blogs for two years as a hobby.
    Here's my take. I grew up with the Courier Journal in Louisville when the Bingham's owned it and it was one of the top papers in the country.

    They had to change the online format of the Courier Journal to make it easy to read for smart phones, iPads, etc. It was too difficult to read online for the new devices. It looks more like "Florida Today" now.

    I hope Gannet makes it though....
    I sure hate Rupert Murdoch. I won't even read the Wall Street Journal anymore because of his penchant for yellow journalism.

    The Courier Journal's main readers are the college sports fanatics, and women who cut out the coupons. Classifieds are okay, but the print is soooo small. And of course, covering special events like the Derby. It seems more sports oriented than anything now. They were smart to have MetroMix. That targets the 20-30 crowd along with the free paper, Velocity. That probably brings in ad revenue.

    The rest is average. There's not much else to read. You can read the whole paper in about 10 minutes.

    It just was never the same when the Bingham's sold it.
    Local markets like local columnists, of which there are now few. And they work other jobs at the paper besides just writing columns. You know how when companies downsize, they get rid of one person and split up the work between the other employees.
    People want to read local news written by local people.

    They can get the national stuff all over the 'net and on so many TV stations. One gets tired of seeing the same news on so many formats all day.

    And they totally ignore the minority market in Louisville.

    I would like to see more GOOD news. We get bombarded with horrific stuff all day.

    Bingham kept some horrific stuff, like some local murders, rapes, and such out of the paper on purpose. It worked. The Courier Journal had class in those days.

    Gannett needs to incorporate some old-style good journalism with a bit of national news that isn't all horrible and sensational and look back into history to see what made the Courier Journal one of the top newspapers in the whole country.

    And the Courier REALLY needs to start targeting minority readers. They are leaving out a whole segment of people who read the paper. They might get more subscribers.

    3/04/2011 4:46 PM

  25. 4:54 How do you know that's even true? Cassidy, for one, works for USAT, and this is a companywide initiative.

    Also, to clarify, Robin's last name is spelled PENCE (a "c'' rather than an "s"). And Mary Ann's is CRISTIANO (no "h").

  26. Looks like Optima Thin and Times New Roman. Hope it didn't cost much.

  27. 4:54 -- Nitwit. Both Cristiano and Cassidy work for USAT, and had nothing to do with creating the campaign.

  28. "Looks like Optima Thin and Times New Roman. Hope it didn't cost much."

    Don't quit your day job.

  29. the font for the new logo is: Geometric 415 Medium

    The futura-esk sharp clean lettering is a fine logo modern logo that says, "We are not creative."

  30. Sorry 5:27... that tagline looks like Bookman Old Style. Very creative choice.

    Who thinks that top managers sat in a room passing logos around a table and decided to pick which one was best?

    Picking a logo is the ultimate "piss on the bush."

    The approval process can take hours.

    Craig or Gracia actually had to say, "I like this one."

    In the end, "reach" comes to mind... so that fits.

  31. I wonder how many laid-off content creators could have been hired back with the money spent on this silly initiative.

    Sounds like the board came up with this while they were grabbing at something "within reach."

    Here's my suggestion:
    More accurate.
    Where do I pick up my commission?

  32. It's All Within Reach
    *Except Artistic Logos
    *And only if it's type based

    G A N N E T T
    It's all we could afford

  33. I keep reading it over and over and all I can think of is "It's all within a reach around"
    And that is exactly what I got from Gannett for 11 years. LOL

  34. Interesting how one poster slams another by using the exact same thing he's slamming -- opinion, with no proof.

    "Anonymous said...

    1:53 the statement that local advertisers don't want to advertise with corporate giants is soooo silly. Just about every tv station, newspaper, radio station, mobile and internet site is owned by a corporation. Your comment is so lame. Another example of a hater who has no real proof so they just make their argument up.

  35. Jim,

    Lots of comments most well deserved. But let's face it. With the exception of USAT the Gannett properties are a Byzantine patchwork of media. Yes, the internet (smartphones and tablets too) give each property worldwide reach. But theoretical coverage does not equal users. The content, even when combined, comes nowhere near a true national brand.

    Displaying the owner works only in true branding. There is a reason Courtyard is Courtyard by Marriott. It is the legitimate branding that Marriott built.

    Gannett adds a name and logo but has never invested in the credibility needed to achieve "name brand " status.

    Other media companies that do not have a real "brand" have backed off.

    Clear Channel comes to mind. And unlike Gannett; that company has many synergies that might benefit an advertiser. Radio and outdoor in the same market. Radio in each of the top 20 markets. How can Gannett be "national" when they have only a small USAT circulation in the top 3 markets?

    Differentiate CBS. That firm owns TV and radio stations in each of the top 8 markets. There are some synergies there.

    Which begs the question. Couldn't the time and money put into this misadventure have been better spent in improving the product in at least one newspaper or electronic market?

  36. GANNETT - "It's a reach."

  37. This site came up in google search for the new Gannett Brand. I don't get it. Is this a site for people who hate Gannett or something? I'm interested in case studies about companies who try to re-brand or brand themselves and ended up on a blog full of malcontent idiots. Do you all understand that it is 2011 and that TV is now in color?

  38. a complete waste of time and money. i'm reminded of former GCI corporate executive who was fond of saying "a difference that makes no difference makes no difference." fits well in describing this new genius of an idea.

    Perhaps corporate thinks it will give them credibility for actually doing something, however meaningless, other than counting the money and cutting costs.

    was this new slogan the brainchild of dickey and and his tail-wagging devotee michelle krans, community publishing's senior marketing VP for strategy, former ad manager from a community newspaper of 50,000 circulation in the middle of the california desert, now dickey's brain wave right hand at corporate? she is known for being big on logos and using 'big' buzz words such as corporate identity & branding speak.

  39. It's all within reach?

    Gannett's issue is that they keep "reaching" and never "grasp" new technology. No viable apps for Iphones/Ipads for Electronic. Any apps that are out there are not compatible with current technology. Just in a meeting this week there was talk about Facebook presence for pubs and how "exciting an opportunity" this will be. REALLY?? It's 2011...My CAT has had a Facebook page for 2 years and has 150 "friends". As simple a technology as Facebook and we are just NOW looking into a "presence"? technology customers have bailed and found alternatives. It's too late. Either you catch them at the launch or they find the information from someone else. The days of "we are the NEWSPAPER and they will wait" are over.

  40. Thank God all those furloughs went to this dynamic and revenue-generating initiative! Funny, but all I can read with this new campaign is "Gannett: Let's Not Even Mention News" ... great branding strategy, to not let people know what your business even is!

    Can't wait to see what they'll do when they announce second-quarter furloughs! Oh, I know: MORE LAYOFFS!!!!

  41. Do you all understand that it is 2011 and that TV is now in color? - What is TV?
    Also, what is kerning????????????

  42. From Wikipedia: "In typography, kerning (less commonly mortising) is the process of adjusting the spacing between characters in a proportional font, usually to achieve a visually pleasing result."

    This has come up because Gannett's new logo desperately needs kerning: There's way too much white space between the letters G A N N E T T.

  43. Has anyone seen the instructions Corporate has given newspapers on placement of the phrase "A Gannett Newspaper" on Page One?

    I'm told the instructions may include guidelines on minimum type size; proximity to the flag, and white space.

    I'd surely love to see that memo, in .pdf or whatever format it's been created.

    As always, I'm at jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]

  44. I think Martore said it pefectly. Gannett is a "holding company" and completely meaningless in the scheme of all its brands. Nobody cares. Gannett is insignificant to marketers and a hinderance to its employees. Only this group of division heads thinks otherwise. The emperor truly has no clothes.

  45. How about taking this money and giving it to the brands themselves? They are the ones fighting an uphill battle to stay relevant in their markets. This effort will not move the needle even a little. In fact, having "Gannett" under the masthead is a detriment to the brand.

  46. The only people who are happy about this is a group of old men who are long past their prime and effectiveness. And Robin Pence? God help us.

  47. Everyone should just relax. This campaign will disappear in 2-3 months with the only remnants being house ads in local papers. Then they'll be off to the bext phase in the "transformation."

  48. Tobias Nagele3/05/2011 1:01 PM

    This reminds of when the powers who be wanted to move Army Times Publishing away from that tired old Army Times branding. Wow, that was a success.

  49. LOL -- from the logo that was kerned so tight it wrote on top of itself to the logo that's kerned so wide it looks stretched out like my old socks. Gotta love change for change sake.
    GANNETT -- it's all within wretch.

  50. rebrandings like these are uually more intended for Wall Street than for the readership. when I worked for S&P, our parent rebranded from McGraw-Hill to The McGraw-Hill Companies.

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  52. This was all done for wall street.... Did you see the list of where the commercials will air? GANNETT could care less about readers. It is sad to see good people working like dogs to be thanked with nothing more that furloughs and added task when yet another position goes unfilled.

    GANNETT is moving away from doing business with smaller companies. If you don't have at least $9k a year to spend don't call a GANNETT property. Call your local mom and pop operations. They will appreciate your business and help you.

  53. @Jim. You are speaking of "tracking" not "kerning."
    There is a difference. And there is also a reason why you "TRACK" out an all-caps logotype.


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