In September 2021, the FT launched a new corporate brand campaign, 'Letters to this New World'. Designed and produced by the FT’s in-house creative and brand team, developed in collaboration with The Brooklyn Brothers, the campaign is the latest evolution of the FT’s New Agenda brand platform. A rallying cry that encourages public reflection on life before and after the pandemic and importantly, gives voice to the lessons learned by us all. The campaign boldly calls for a more responsible model of capitalism fit for the modern age - an unexpected standpoint from the world’s most renowned financial title. It clearly positions the FT as the leading destination for analysis and leadership on the most important global trends and themes in a rapidly changing world.
The content-led campaign features a series of hard-hitting open letters addressing themes like climate change, the world of work, digital finance and global inequality. High profile FT journalists including Martin Wolf, Gillian Tett, Pilita Clark and Paul Murphy penned their own letters to launch the campaign, each focused on their area of expertise. The entire Financial Times staff were then invited to contribute, by sending in their own letters about what is important to them - an important act of inclusion and unity following months apart from each other. Finally, we reached out to the public with a digital call to arms and also physical activations at targeted events - festivals and art fairs.
Excerpts from FT journalists’ letters:
“Expect the unexpected. Protect the weak. Cooperate globally.” Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator.
“Let’s not go back to a past that wasn’t working anyway.” Sarah O’Connor, FT employment columnists.
“Tech is reshaping the financial ecosystem. Brace yourself. Or log on.” Gillian Tett, FT chair of editorial board and editor-at-large, US.
“A complete return to life as it was would be devastating for our climate.” Pilita Clark, FT business columnist.
Subsequently, celebrated thinkers and business leaders shared what they would like to see addressed post-pandemic or lessons learned, from the urgency of addressing climate change to the digital revolution. Examples of all of these are attached to this entry.
Alongside the FT’s own print and online editions, the global brand creative ran on digital, audio, in cinemas and out of home, reaching audiences in the UK, US, CEMEA and APAC. We ran a 30 second TV ad titled ‘The Speech’ in the UK, US and Germany. The campaign also featured at FT Live events and through FT partnerships, sponsorships and external communications. We turned Letters to this New World into dedicated brand spaces such as FTWeekend Festival, Photo London and Bracken House (our headquarters), featuring an FT branded postbox and a virtual exhibition inviting attendees to post their own visions for this new world.
For the campaign art direction, we added a handwritten font to complement our brand typeface to emphasise the letter format and individual voices and our distinct brand colour, the FT Pink, was used in out of home long-format ads to underpin our journalists’ letters. The art direction of the photography focused on micro/macro imagery aligned to the campaign themes, supporting powerful words. The imagery was further brought to life in 30 second videos through the use of subtle animation.
Our ‘Letters’ campaign drove an incredible 2.25 million quality reads of FT content, and delivered an impressive 4,034 new digital subscriptions. Of these subscriptions, 25% were in the US, a major growth market for the FT. Podcast partnerships with the campaign were responsible for a 15% uplift in consideration of the FT as a go-to news source among US audiences, with purchase intent in the same audience rising 13% from baseline. Furthermore, we saw a 15% uplift in respondents reporting that the FT makes them ‘better informed’, and a 12% rise in sentiment that the FT is ‘unbiased’ - essential brand levers for a news outlet that champions quality journalism.
The results were even more impressive in the UK, where amplification of the campaign resulted in a 35% uplift in consideration and a 25% uplift in purchase intent versus baseline. 70% of users exposed reported that they thought the FT provided information needed to get ahead in their career. The most significant increase in consideration we saw was in APAC, where there was a 39% increase in consideration and a 19% uplift in purchase intent.
Kati Lopez - Creative Director
Ellie Turner - Head of Brand Design
Hayley Smith - Head of Design, Consumer Services
Tia McPhee - Global Brand & Partnerships Director
Simon Burnett - Senior Marketing Copywriter
Harry Haydon - Planning Lead
Chris Storey - Senior Campaign Manager