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The New Yorker Brand Essence Video

The challenge: What do you say about the magazine that does everything? 

The New Yorker has never tried to define itself with a tagline like the New York Times' "All the news that's fit to print" or the Washington Post's "Democracy dies in darkness." Because they do so much well - not just reporting but also iconic covers, cartoons, poetry - it's easy for a strategy line to come up short. 

The process: Shifting focus from audience to output

I've read The New Yorker for a decade, and I took a day to soak up their online content and pull clips to use for the video. Then I interviewed some other readers of The New Yorker to make sure I wasn't just writing my personal love letter to the brand. 

An early draft of the video centered on the strategy line "Our readers know," which we thought was pretty good, but something about it didn't sit right. We realized that a good strategy line for The New Yorker shouldn't be defined by its relationship to its audience. IfThe New Yorker was driven by "giving readers what they want" rather than setting the pace for excellence, they would have slashed word counts and introduced listicles a decade ago. Instead, a good strategy line needs to speak to what The New Yorker gives to the world. 

The breakthrough: "We make sense." 

Making sense of the messy, complicated world we live in is the throughline of everything The New Yorker does, and they use almost every medium available for sensemaking - reporting, essays, fiction, podcasts, poetry, film, art, humor. Also, "we make sense" has the cute double meaning of "we produce things that make sense of the world" and "we're a good idea," which seemed on brand.  


Video editing and script: Ed Keithly

Script and editing supervision: Arielle Adens & Catherine Emblidge

Voiceover: Alex Smith-Scales

For more:

Check out Your #1 Hype Girl (Starbucks) and We're in This Thing Together (Ergobaby). 

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