On Dec 14, blogger Drunken Expat Writer posted a photo (seen at right) of a the International Herald Tribune with a full page advertisement for Rolex adorning it's front page. He titled the post: "F*ck You International Herald Tribune," continuing, "...you become the first "newspaper of record" to sell your entire front page to advertisers. You should be ashamed. Even William Randolf Hearst wouldn't have done this."
According to Jean-Christophe Demarta, Director of International Advertising for the New York Times Media Group, which published IHT, this is not the first time they covered the front page in an ad, but it was the first time they did so world wide. He told NYC The Blog in an email:
The principle of doing a coverwrap is not new. The IHT does it frequently on several distribution zones such as hotels, airport lounges or trade fairs. However, it was the first time that the IHT ran such an ad on a WW basis.Asked about the cost for such a campaign, as there was no rate card available for such an option, Demarta emailed:
The rate cannot be found on our standard card and can only be communicated if the name of the client and the nature of the operation is known. I am sure you understand that this a very exceptional execution which cannot be repeated frequently.This is clearly a sensitive issue for the IHT, and it seems that someone at the company has taken to the comments at Drunken Expat Writer to defend this first ever world wide front page ad:
Do you want the IHT to come out at all? Or do you want it to go the way of endless doomed American newspapers? That's the price of news. People want free news on the Internet. People are no longer willing to pay for subscription and newsstand. But they still expect coverage that comes from having top editors and correspondents all over the world. Do you know how much money it costs to keep full-time operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, China, etc? If you have some brilliant answer on how newspapers can pay for expensive, worldwide coverage without advertising revenue, I'd love to hear your solution.The discussion continued in the comments, read it here.