One Thing Leads to Another in NYT's Latest Campaign
What do sneakers, airlines, carbon, deepfakes, chatbots and romantic dinners have in common?
We find out in Droga5's latest work for the New York Times, an effort that stresses connections among seemingly disparate people, places, items, events and topics.
As in past lauded efforts from the client-agency team, ads present rapid-fire NYT text and images, suggesting the complex, often confusing flow of information around us. The news outlet positions itself as an enlightened gatekeeper or guide, helping readers weave together threads and comprehend the bigger picture.
Expansive understanding is the theme, embodied in the tag "More of Life Brought to Life." In a way, the campaign's a throwback, a stylized riff on journalism's time-tested mission of broadening readers' horizons and helping them see how all the pieces fit.
This begs some questions. Do folks truly want to understand what's going on? Will they follow a path from A to B to C and reach informed conclusions? Or, are they content to slide down rabbit holes of vapid viewpoints and snark, upvoting opinions that match their own?
Muse chatted with Droga5 executive creative directors Toby Treyer and Laurie Howell about fine-tuning the NYT's image in a tough marketplace.
MUSE: Can you explain how this work evolved from past NYT campaigns?
Toby Treyer: We've been looking to build a unique storytelling language for The New York Times over the last five years; from the typography and sound design, right through to the imagery, each time telling a different story. This time, the focus was on the wider world, and the "essential subscription." There is a parallel between the bigger world of journalism now offered by this subscription and how it can expand our minds.
Why stress connections? It's an elegant notion, but can viewers really follow along?
Toby Treyer: We loved the idea of a single continuous rope of type mimicking the trail you leave through the Times as you read it—an interconnected thread, hopping through each piece of journalism, as the reader follows their curiosity. In 60 seconds, we wanted to open people's worlds, take them on a tangential journey, and drop them off where they started, using the wide range of Times' products available to readers.
Is there a different target vs. past years? A new mission?
Laurie Howell: The target was the same—the curious core reader—but we did want to evolve the feel. We were looking to find new ground, play with a more direct visual texture, bring in a different tone of journalism and stretch the viewers' perception. We were conscious of showing all the innovative visual tools the Times used to present a story.
When folks see the ads, what's the big takeaway?
Laurie Howell: We'd love the viewer to want to dive in and get lost in the Times, [read it] in the bath, in a park or on the subway, and find their own thread.
Can you talk about the making-of, describe the creative process?
Toby Treyer: We started with a word we all know—sneakers, gravity or time, and then followed the journalism to sometimes far distant places or topics, and back again. In parallel, we sketched out what a potential journey might be for a reader and brought that together with the journalism. It's a bit of a Swiss clock of a piece, playing with the relationship between type, sound and images. The cadence of the journey dictated the amount of images at each moment.
Even more than in past work, it feels like editing holds these messages together.
Toby Treyer: We worked with [Bonaparte director] Mackenzie Sheppard and his team in Berlin. We loved the way he was up for building this and helping connect the more interesting visual textures of the Times, to help us move between the different topics. It was a collaborative process—we worked with many editors throughout.
Agency: Droga5 N.Y.
Chief Creative Officer: Scott Bell
Executive Creative Director: Laurie Howell
Executive Creative Director: Toby Treyer
Senior Copywriter: Sara Muchnick
Senior Art Director: Ben Muckensturm
Copywriter: Aaron Araya
Art Director: Ross Weaver
Copywriter: Ian Hart
Art Director: Charlotte Simons
Senior Designer: Melanie Reichert
Co-Head of Production: Ruben Mercadal
Senior Producer, Film: Kyla Bridge
Senior Producer, Film: Patrick Wood
Associate Producer, Film: Harit Muttreja Muttreja
Head of Business Affairs: Dan Simonetti
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Ann Marie Turbitt
Senior Traffic Manager: Mary Thornton
Senior Music Supervisor: Mike Ladman
Junior Music Supervisor: Mara Techam
Executive Group Account Director: Lea Mastroberti
Account Director: Colby Burlingame
Account Manager: Collin Wolf
Chief Strategy Officer: Harry Román-Torres
Chief Strategy Officer: Colleen Leddy
Group Strategy Director: Keir Moreano
Strategy Director: Claudia Vitarelli
Head of Media Strategy: Ben Nilsen
Group Communications Strategy Director: Justin Schneider
Communications Strategist: Moi Lee
Data Strategy Director: Ty Matsunaga
Group Project Manager: Karen Tshimanga
Project Manager: Skye Harper
Production Company: Bonaparte
Director: Mackenzie Sheppard
Managing Partner: Nico Kries
Managing Partner: Philip Töpfer
Senior Producer: Jana Reinermann
Director's Rep: Michael Gugger
Creative Assistant to Director: Rico Noël
Production Coordinator: Aratrika Das
Motion Design Coordinator & Post Production Tech: Alex Vozar
2nd Unit Assistant and Post Production Tech: roy Levin
Production Assistant: Johanna Katz
Production Assistant: Julian Mathieu
Visual Research: Jess Lipington;
Visual Research: Marisa Nuxoll
Data Organization: Cora Ge
Data Organization: Vivienne Makumbirofa
Data Organization: Sarah Masete
Data Organization: Julia Tham
Assistant to Production Dept: Zoë Heimann
Assistant to Production Dept: Tina Paffen
Office Management: Marco Piana
Office Management: Johann Oeding
Office Management: Lola Chalmers
Senior Editor: David Gesslbauer
Senior Editor: András Guti
Senior Editor: Shane Lester
Senior Editor: Søren Schneider
Offline Editor and Camera Operator: Maximilian Elske
Motion Designer / 3D Artist: Lukas Hertlein
Motion Designer / 3D Artist: EVEROE
Motion Designer / 3D Artist: Sarah Masete
Bonaparte Sound Dept: Alexander Wolf David
Bonaparte Sound Dept: Denis Elmaci
Post Production, VFX: The Mill N.Y.
Executive Producer: Chris Connolly
Producer: Kyla Graham
Art Director: Laura Nash
Designer: Chris Rodriguez
Designer: Evan Bech
2D Lead: Anton Anderson
2D Lead: Yoon Bae
Compositor: Luke Bedillion
Edit Assist: Joseph Zappulla
Sound Design & Mix: Wave Studios N.Y.
Executive Producer: Vicky Ferraro
Producer: Eleni Giannopolous
Sound Engineer: Aaron Reynolds
Music Company: KO Music
Music Composer: Philip Kay
Music Producer: Andy Oskwarek
Track Name: "The Rabbit Hole"