In recent years, Droga5's award-winning work for The New York Times has taken deep dives into important stories of the day, revealing the hard work and exhaustive research behind each headline and front-page spread.
Today, the agency and Somesuch director Kim Gehrig blow the doors off that formula in a film that artfully and energetically fits bits and pieces of more than 100 stories into its 2:20 run time:
Droga5 describes the spot as a "visual poem about life crafted from Times journalism ... [in which] the headlines come together to rhythmically tell the story of the time we are living in."
The quick edits, percussive type-type-typing sounds, and freeform jazz score from Makaya McCraven are designed to mimic the cadences and energy of a big story coming together. If it's tad busy or cacophonous, well, that's the point. The world is a bustling place. Big stuff happens every hour, every minute. Confusion, consternation and chaos lurk around each corner, but the spot assures us that the Times provides clarity and context across its news, analysis and opinion pages and myraid other media offerings.
Like many legacy media organizations, the Times has posted mixed results of late. The company enjoyed big Q2 subscription gains, though its ad revenue fell 44 percent compared to the same three months in 2019. That drop was driven by Covid-19-related budget cuts at major marketers.
Below, members of the agency and client team who crafted the campaign chat with Muse about its development:
An evolving message.
"The last work, 'The Truth Is Worth It,' was all about everything that goes into publishing one piece of journalism," says Droga5 group creative director Toby Trever-Evans. "This work is about how The New York Times can help you in every part of life. The new campaign looks to show the value of original quality journalism in a different way, proving how it can be an invaluable resource in a world full of uncertainty and change."
"Life right now has come into very sharp focus, as we all know, so it felt like a good time to make a piece of work that was emblematic of the moment," adds Laurie Howell, also a GCD at the shop. "When misinformation is rife, people look to the truth, and to quality, independent, original, fact-based journalism."
Seeking a broader audience.
"The audience for this message is not only Times readers and subscribers but also those that we hope will turn to the Times to understand the complexity of this moment," says Amy Weisenbach, the paper's svp of marketing. "I hope those who see it understand that for every part of our chaotic and upended lives, there is a piece of New York Times journalism to help bring clarity and guidance to it."
A classic type of approach.
"This work builds on the visual equity we have been building over the past four years, and the type that the Times has been setting since its founding in 1851," says Trever-Evans. "It's simple, beautiful, type-driven work on black or white, putting the journalists and their reporting front and center."
All the news that's fit to print.
"We wanted to feature powerful headlines, stories and images that address the range of issues people face in their daily lives—navigating case counts, online learning, flying, protests, presidential politics and economic tumult," says Droga5 art director Jackie Moran. "The goal was to pick journalism that was helpful and felt particularly like the kind of thing that makes you go, 'I had no idea the Times could guide me on that.' Ultimately, the words, images, footage and music all needed to work together to capture the feeling of the time we are living in."
All that jazz.
"We love the way this piece holds the words and drives the momentum of the edit with emotion and vitality," adds agency copywriter Ben Brown. "There is something about jazz that felt really right for this—the way it can feel timeless but also contemporary. Jazz can be playful, serious, heartbreaking and somber all in one piece, like life itself."
Below, check out our recent video interview with David Rubin, CMO of the Times, who discusses Droga5's prior ads for the paper, among many other topics.
The New York Times :: The Truth is Essential
The Truth is Essential :: Integrated Credits List
Client The New York Times
Campaign The Truth is Essential
Title Life Needs Truth
Launch Date August 19, 2020
Agency Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman David Droga
Co-Chief Creative Officer Tim Gordon
Co-Chief Creative Director Felix Richter
Group Creative Director Laurie Howell
Group Creative Director Toby Treyer- Evans
Copywriter Ben Brown
Art Director Jackie Moran
Associate Director of Film Production Ruben Mercadal
Senior Producer, Film Forrest Holt
Senior Producer, Film Brandon Chen
Associate Producer, Film Connor Hagan
Director of Business Affairs Dan Simonetti
Senior Business Affairs Manager Ann-Marie Turbitt
Senior Music Supervisor Mike Ladman
Group Strategy Director Nick Maschmeyer
Senior Strategist Carmen VonPatterson
Communications Strategy Director Hillary Fink
Group Account Director Alex Woods
Account Supervisor Tehjal Suri
Associate Account Manager Vanessa Foinquinos
Senior Project Manager Theresa Ganchore
Project Manager Amanda Cohen
Client The New York Times
EVP & Chief Operating Officer Meredith Kopit Levien
Chief Marketing Officer David Rubin
SVP, Marketing Amy Weisenbach
Director, Brand Strategy Iain Newton
Director, Brand Marketing Lyndsay De Carolis
Executive Creative Director, Marketing Laura Forde
Creative Director, Brand Marketing Stina Smith
Associate Creative Director, Brand
Marketing Taylor Gandossy
Managing Director, Marketing & Brand Insights Brenna King Schleifer
Senior Project Manager Blair Ecton
Edit Trim / Cosmo Street
Editor Tom Lindsay
Assistant Editor Jacques Simon
Assistant Editor Ben Elkaim
Assistant Editor Josh Mannox
Assistant Editor Alex Morales
Offline Producer Anne Lai
Offline Producer Noreen Khan
Production Company Somesuch
Director Kim Gehrig
EP Nicky Barnes
Producer Saul Germaine
Typography Fraser Muggeridge
Mix Wave Studios
Sound Designer/Mixer Aaron Reynolds
Executive Producer Vicky Ferraro
"Requests" by Makaya McCraven.
Courtesy of International Anthem Recording Co.
Composed by Makaya McCraven, Matt Ulery, Marquis Hill, and Tony Barba.
Additional music arranged by Luke Fabia & Peter Raeburn for Soundtree Music
Additional Sound Design by Soundtree Music
Music Production Company: Soundtree Music
Post Production Method Studios
Executive Producer Bennett Lieber
Flame Artist Warren Paleos
VFX Producer Kristin Engdahl
Color Electric Theatre Collective
Colorist Luke Morrison
Color Producer Oliver Whitworth
Color Assistants Andi Chu & Ollie Thompson
Intro Animation Animator - Matt Eller