BOSTON — FEBRUARY 22, 2021 – Allen & Gerritsen (A&G), an independent, creative-led advertising agency, today announced its newest initiative, “Protect Our Press (POP),” an initiative that aims to reverse the widespread decrease in local, professional journalism across the country.
Newsrooms continue to experience a staggering decline in revenue and ad spending and record-breaking employee layoffs, with more than 1,300 communities across the U.S. classified as local “news deserts. (Source)”, amounting to 20% of all newspapers closing in the last 15 years. To combat this decline, A&G has launched the Protect Our Press initiative to prioritize and reinvest advertising spending in local newsrooms and deploy a call-to-action for agencies, brands, publishers and even individuals to pledge their participation or commitment.
To launch Protect Our Press, A&G has partnered with neighbor and longtime agency vendor Boston Globe Media, with an inaugural pledge to:
Invest 20 percent of its programmatic advertising spend to direct or collective news buys, including the removal of news from exclusion lists
Evaluate direct deals with local newspapers through inclusion in the RFP process
Commit to maintaining support levels for media buys already invested in local journalism
Encourage individuals to sign up for paid subscriptions to their local digital or print publication
To support the partnership, Boston Globe Media will provide A&G with exclusive access to a premium advertising placement, favorable rate-card pricing structure, enhanced positional and quality guarantees, content collaborations and access to its first-party data to uncover insights that will help brands engage with the network’s audiences — data that is not typically available to advertisers.
“This is a pivotal time in our nation, and the public’s access to local journalism is more critical than ever,” says Andrew Graff, CEO at A&G. “The decline of local journalism is a story of death by a thousand cuts, many of which have come from our industry. I urge my industry colleagues to join A&G and Boston Globe Media in this pledge to chart a new course, and prioritize the preservation of talent and the essential storytelling of our local newsrooms.”
“The Globe has provided critical news and information to strengthen our city and region for nearly 150 years and we are thrilled to partner with A&G on this timely campaign to ensure that local, professional journalism continues to thrive,” said Kayvan Salmanpour, Chief Commercial Officer at Boston Globe Media. “We have seen firsthand the value our organization holds for the communities we serve, especially over the last several months. Our role as a convener has come into sharper focus as readers flock to our sites for essential information on the unfolding pandemic, including resources for small businesses and ways to support families, students and neighbors.”
“It’s time to admit that the advertising industry has been culpable in the decline of local journalism,” adds Will Phipps, A&G Senior Vice President of Media. “Agencies have been complicit by excluding ‘news’ from clients’ plans, fearing the unpredictable nature of the category. But the reality is that there’s a great opportunity in the local news community, and when we start to collaborate with our clients to seize these moments, we have the ability to help build back this critical pillar of journalism.”
Investing in local newsrooms offers a significant benefit to brand advertising. As consumers grow increasingly skeptical of “fake news,” industry studies show that more than 70% of the U.S. population relies on online and print news daily to stay up-to-date on current events. This trust in local journalism also converts: A&G’s programmatic analysis shows that paid media ads on news sites are 20% more efficient at driving traffic than those on other websites.
The Boston-based Museum of Science will be A&G’s first client to participate in Protect Our Press, with an exclusive 3-month sponsorship of all COVID-19 and Climate Change content, aligning with the Museum’s mission for these two critical news streams.
While A&G has created the infrastructure to support this pledge, it is calling on agencies, brands publishers and individuals to join this initiative with a range of actions from a 20% pledge in favor of news environments, to an individual subscription to a local publisher. Interested parties can find out more on the Protect Our Press campaign site. You can also check out Stories at Stake, a provocative look at the news that has shaped our lives in 2020 — an illustration of what we stand to lose if our publisher partners fade away.
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About Allen & Gerritsen
Allen & Gerritsen (A&G) is an independent, integrated, creative-led agency that is driven by strategy, data and humanity to generate sustainable results for modern brands. Our agency brings out a brand’s best self through strategies that truly understand people and the ideas that connect to them. Our headquarters are located in Boston and Philadelphia and our clients include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Citrix Sharefile, Comcast, Fresenius Medical Care North America, National Organization on Disability, Philadelphia Flyers, The TJX Companies and more. A&G builds our own best self by embracing the diversity of our talent and taking pride in creating a warm, curious, genuine, thoughtful culture. A&G was ranked twice by Advertising Age as the #1 “Best Place to Work in Marketing & Media.” To learn more, check out http://www.a-g.com and follow the agency on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC
Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC provides news and information, entertainment, opinion and analysis through its multimedia properties. BGMP includes The Boston Globe, Globe.com, Boston.com, STAT, and Globe Direct.