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The Philadelphia Inquirer is here to fight

Is this really a good ad strategy?

1 min read

SEPTA - the South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority — trains are covered with these ads for the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Combative Philadelphia Inquirer ad

I’m curious to know if they actually work. They feel very negative to me: a pot-shot at the New York Times rather than an argument for why the Inquirer is great in its own right.

There’s an underlying assumption here that newspaper subscriptions are zero-sum: that each household will only receive one. Of course, most households aren’t even that: it’s increasingly rare for anyone to subscribe to a paper newspaper. But for digital subscriptions, I’d have assumed that it would be additional: households might subscribe to both the Inquirer and the Times (as well as a few other publications; maybe the New Yorker and Philadelphia Magazine).

Is their assumption right, or is mine? I don’t know. What I do know is that the ad feels combative and what I’m left with is the conflict rather than anything about the Inquirer’s own coverage. While there is definitely some anti-New York feeling among multi-generational Philadelphians, it feels like an odd choice.

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