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BRAND X: In the Pink

Brand: Financial Times
Agency: BBDO New York
Creative director: Donna Weinheim

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Suddenly the staid and stately London-based Financial Times has attitude to spare. Witness one of the brazen FT.com campaign one-liners riding around on the sides of city buses at the moment: last one to a billion is a rotten egg. The line's part of the salmon-colored daily's remarkably aggressive push to give its Web unit an emergency infusion of brand personality. Frankly, it needs it. The print-edition FT counts only about 100,000 subscribers in the U.S., and its target demographic is primarily the international business jet set. FT.com is trying to expand far beyond that niche audience -- the idea being that a global business perspective might have wide appeal in the borderless dot-conomy (hence another puckish line in the campaign: "at last the tri-state area is mine" just doesn't sound right). Given FT.com's lavish ad budget ($35 million, including that Oscar-night TV spot starring Dan Aykroyd as a clueless American attempting a deal with Italian businessmen), it's a good thing it's dispensing with its usual polite British reserve. FT's Website might transcend borders, but the lingua franca of the new economy is distinctly, crassly American. And so is the ethos: Greed isn't just good -- greed is great, greed is fun, and amassing dynastic wealth is a giddy, amusing pursuit. If you can overlook the occasional 600-point NASDAQ swoon, that is.


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