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This Week in Content Marketing: New York Times Leverages Snapchat as a Marketing Tool


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this episode, we compare the newly buzzed-about Heineken ad to Pepsi’s debacle from a few weeks back – and conclude that they aren’t all that different. We also discuss ESPN’s decision to cut 100 on-air content creators, and explore The New York Times’ debut as a Snapchat Discover publisher. Our rants and raves feature AT&T’s home page and net neutrality, then we close the show with an example of the week from Pirelli tires.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on May 1, 2017; Length: 1:00:57)

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1.   Our sponsor (08:50):

  • PowerPost – Welcome to the Age of Power Publishing: As content marketers, we understand the importance of creating content that not only educates, but inspires consumers to take action. As a result, we have entered a new era of “brands as publishers” – where brands are increasingly becoming publishers in their own right. With brand publishing and content distribution come several key steps to the publishing process. But the elongated process of content creation, review, scheduling, and tracking analytics can often take more time than we have. Built by marketers for marketers, PowerPost is a time-saving tool for companies who manage content for multiple brands with multiple users – whether it’s a regulated industry or creative agency. With PowerPost, your team can publish from one location across all of your online platforms, quickly and efficiently turning your brand into a power publisher. To help more brands excel at publishing, join us for a webinar on May 9th with CMI founder Joe Pulizzi. We have also created a comprehensive e-book, with insights from 50 experts in the content marketing field, and their strategies on conquering the five pillars of brand publishing: content planning, workflow, distribution, analytics, conversion. Claim your download at


2.    Notable news and upcoming trends:

  • Heineken shows Pepsi how to connect people who are worlds apart (11:30): Both BusinessInsider and AdWeek heaped praise on a new video spot from Heineken, in which pairs of people with opposing social and political viewpoints choose to engage in a conversation over a beer rather than letting their differences continue to divide them. AdWeek calls the powerful spot “the antidote to Pepsi’s pop-candy take on our messy political reality.” Though Heineken minimized the product placement and upped the emotional appeal, Robert and I wonder if the two ads are really all that different – especially as both were designed to be one-time “stunts,” rather than ongoing, content-driven conversations.

  • ESPN evolves its content strategy, losing 100 on-air personalities in the process (21:35): One of the last week’s biggest media stories was ESPN’s decision to cut more than 100 on-air employees, as well as a limited number of non-talent personnel, as reported on Yahoo Stories. In his company-wide memo, which was later posted publicly, ESPN President John Skipper frames the cuts around a shifting content strategy and the need for greater versatility in the face of changing consumer viewing habits. I think the story may have been blown a bit out of proportion – considering the relatively low number of layoffs. However, if you are at all involved in content marketing strategy, you should be paying attention to ESPN’s “over-the-top” strategy and how the company is re-organizing to move away from its role as a third-party content distributor.


Click to enlarge

  • The New York Times becomes Snapchat’s latest Discover publisher (31:10): Speaking of new media models, Mashable brings us an exclusive report on the Times’ debut as a daily edition on Snapchat, calling it a “dramatic moment for one of the world’s oldest and most respected news brands to dedicate resources to a young app. Robert views this as a smart brand marketing play, and was really encouraged by the quality of the stories selected for the platform. Not only do the articles seem well targeted to the interests of Snapchat’s youthful audience, Robert hopes the experience will serve as a gateway that drives app users to engage with the Times’ content in more monetizable ways.

3. Rants and raves (38:00):

  • Robert’s rant #1: In a news story that broke just prior to recording, a federal appeals court has declined to review an earlier decision upholding the FCC’s net neutrality regulations. As explained in this Recode post, a lobbying group representing web giants like Facebook and Google is among the vocal opponents of the Trump administration’s promise to roll back Obama-era policies preserving an open internet. As this is surely not the final word on the subject, Robert implores everyone – marketer or otherwise – to stay informed on this issue as it continues to unfold.
  • Robert’s rant #2: The idea that “you are never too old to chase your dreams” has been mined for many popular internet memes, including a recent viral Facebook status post, which reveals the age some celebrities were when they got their big breaks. While Robert has no argument with the concept of remaining young at heart when it comes to following your passions, he feels the examples given in this case are not only inaccurate, but they are teaching the wrong lesson: As he sees it, they really speak more to the power of persistence when it comes to achieving success than the age factor.

  • Joe’s rant: We seem to have a lot of phone mishaps in my household, requiring us to have to replace lost or broken equipment more often than the average family. As an AT&T customer, I visited the AT&T website for new phone info recently, and found a fun ad featuring Mark Wahlberg explaining some of the telco’s new policies when it comes to giving consumers access to entertainment on their terms. For a company that is trying to redefine the terms of engagement when it comes to media consumption, they sure missed the mark by inviting site visitors to “watch the TV ad” – something few people would really be interested in doing voluntarily.

  • Joe’s rave: I recently started reading Dune, and noticed that my copy features an introduction from renowned author Neil Gaiman that lists six of his favorite books published by Penguin Books (including Dune), along with a detailed synopsis of each one. In a nutshell, Penguin found an entertaining way to use its content to get me interested in reading more of the books they publish – a simple, yet smart content marketing technique, if you ask me.

4.    This Old Marketing example of the week (52:35):

  • While we’ve talked about content marketing efforts produced by the Michelin brand on more than a few occasions – including their well-respected restaurant guides – there’s another tire manufacturer whose stellar content had escaped our attention, until now. Pirelli began publishing an annual calendar in 1963, gifting copies of the limited edition publication to its top corporate clients. What always made Pirelli’s calendars stand out was the quality of the photography featured, as well as the caliber of the photographers who participated in the project each year – including notable artists like Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, and Carl Lagerfeld. But the 2017 calendar edition feels like a whole new animal, as the company decided to reboot its original concept by moving away from the classic pin-up style in favor of featuring well-known actresses (like Jessica Chastain, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore) in a more natural, realistic setting – i.e., devoid of the heavy makeup, heavy retouching, and skimpy costumes that some have criticized over the years as being exploitative towards women. It’s a fresh, modern, and more artistic take on the company’s signature content effort – and an interesting This Old Marketing example of how a company can adapt its legacy content to stay in sync with the shifting tastes and interests of its audience.

Pirelli calendar

Image credit

For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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