TAKEAWAY: Reports from Hong Kong this week as we revisit the South China Morning Post team to catch up with developments since the May 16 launch of a newly rethought product across platforms.Today: reader reactions (think weather page); a winning marketing campaign that evolves (summer prizes); the tablet edition plans enhancements.
Catching up with the South China Morning Post
This was the first day of a four-day visit here to work with the SCMP team and evaluate progress across platforms and departments. And the news is good. Readers have embraced the rethought South China Morning Post that was introduced May 16.
One interesting sideline: although our rethinking involved dozens of major changes, there was ONE change that rocked readers: the television listings, which involved cutting of some of the daily programs, had to be reversed, as readers preferred to have the complete listings. Not only did our decision affect the daily newspaper, but also the Sunday magazine, Post, where the only complaint about the redesign was the elimination of complete TV listings.
This is not the first time that I have experienced this. In fact, even though editors seem to think that “a majority of readers” do not consult printed listings anymore, and simply surf thru TV menus on the screen, I have yet to get proof of this. For the SCMP readers, the listings are back how they liked them. The readers have spoken.
Taking the marketing campaign to the next stage
The South China Morning Post’s project had at its central idea to rejuvenate the product, to make it more engaging for its readers, while cleaning out the visual aspects of the printed newspaper, while introducing a new version of its tablet edition.
All was accomplished with major help from the marketing department, headed by Anne Wong, who was focused from the start to create a campaign that would promote the very precise elements of the rethinking that we were introducing. I spent part of the day with Anne and her associate, Michael Chu, who reviewed the success of the first part of the campaign, but also updated me on their successful summer “game” campaign in which 10 lucky winners ran away with prizes. “This was a first for the South China Morning Post, the idea of a contest, but we had 10,400 entries and they came from all kinds of readers.“
As we mentioned in our blog about the marketing of the South China Morning Post in May, the first stage of the marketing campaign was to introduce the concept of Make Everyday Matter.
With that completed, Anne and her team introduced the second phase of the campaign in June, with the very successful game, as you see in the visuals below.
“The contest was simple to enter, but willing participants had to cut the three tokens out of the newspaper and mail it to the newspaper,“ explains Michael Chu. “Every day for three weeks, the tokens appeared in the City section, small but carrying different images that we put together with the help of the editorial department.“
And, saya Anne, “we emphasized upscale items to give away, with a car as the biggest prize, but all kinds of luxury perks, suite at the Shangri La Hotel, dinners at luxurious restaurants, TUMI luggage, wine, and all the type of things that we knew would appeal to our South China Morning Post readers.“
Anne and Michael are very happy with the results, which were five times what they were expecting, and plan to perhaps try it again next summer.
For those who would like more information about the Summer Prize Campaign, go to this dedicated site: http://celebration.scmp.com/
Overall view of what the Summer Prize campaign included
And the winner is……but, while he won a car, he said all he wanted was the TUMI luggage, as he did not drive and would not have a place to park the car; he passed it the car to a friend and TUMI Luggage was so moved by his story that it gave him a set of luggage! Win win.
The campaign works at the newstand, too.
Elements of the first phase of the campaign: Make Everyday Better
Here is how the campaign appeared in its various formats:
I show you here a series of visuals from how the first part of the campaign appeared, to promote a series of daily supplements that were introduced at that time:
Buses, billboards, newstands
A more playful South China Morning Post
In a show that this new South China Morning Post can be more fun, too, the marketing department introduced this poster to “celebrate” the moment when Rupert Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch applied a right hook to an intruder who attempted to throw a pie at her husband, the event now known as the “slap heard round the world” .
Tomorrow: We continue to dissect the printed edition while also working with the digital team on how to take the South China Morning Post tablet edition to the next level.
Previous blog posts about the South China Morning Post:
South China Morning Post: new beginnings in a new Hong Kong, new China
On the fourth day: South China Morning Post design evolves
The marketing of the South China Morning Post relaunch
Image of the day
File under the “Print is Eternal” category. Frank Deville could not resist taking a picture of this man, shirtless but quite immersed into his reading. Photo was taken in the Canary Islands, and the subject was reading Bild Zeitung.