Cannes Lions

The Long Fight

DROGA5, PART OF ACCENTURE INTERACTIVE, New York / THE NEW YORK TIMES / 2020

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Supporting Images

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

The New York Times needed to reach younger curious readers who consume a variety of news but aren’t loyal to The Times. As conversations around the gender gap in professional sports took root in culture, we saw an opportunity to use the US Open to highlight Times decades of unparalleled gender coverage in sports and show the long fight that female athletes have endured.

Our challenge was connecting with younger readers. Highly tuned in to the cultural narrative of the moment, these consumers may read us occasionally but don’t see The Times as a good fit for them. In their worlds, news organizations provide the same information—many for free—making it more difficult to convince them to pay and subscribe to one. This campaign needed to break through and show this audience that The Times covers the issues that matter to them.

Idea

The New York Times has a history of providing unparalleled coverage on gender in sports. When 2019 saw female athletes fighting an increasingly public battle for equality, we used the US Open as a backdrop to demonstrate how our journalism has been there at every step.

Pulling from over 60 years of real Times headlines, we told the story of how women had to fight to level the playing field. We challenged the common misconception that women should be paid less and turned a famous women's tennis rally (generally longer than men's) into our narrative device.

As the rally unfolds, each word brings you through the years to the present day. The sound design mimics the setbacks and breakthroughs and the racquet hits evolve from wooden serves from Billie Jean King to metallic smashes from Venus.

Online we gave readers a deeper look, revealing the articles behind every headline.

Strategy

The New York Times's mission is to seek the truth and help people understand the world. Through this lens, they've published a wealth of original, quality and independent journalism on the gender pay gap. When the Women's World Cup brought new momentum to the conversation, we saw a moment to promote The Times’s unparalleled coverage and remind people that progress starts by understanding the facts.

Execution

This work was designed to shine a light on female athletes’ long fight for pay equality and reveal how The New York Times has been there at every step. We did this by driving people to our site to peruse the more than 60+ years of articles featured in our film, giving them the opportunity to experience the unmatched reporting on the fight for equality in sport.

The film launched on 9/5/2019 during the US Open women’s semifinals and ran across network and cable TV for a one-week flight.

“The Truth Is Worth It” as a whole has driven 4,100 brand mentions that resulted in over 34M social impressions.

Outcome

Immediately after airing, this piece was recognized by internationally acclaimed journalists, athletes and Olympians. Billie Jean King herself tweeted, “Much progress remains in the fight for equality. Thank you, @NYT for shining a spotlight on this very important issue. #EqualityForAll.”

While it may have had a short-term impact within the context of the US Open, our aim was to draw attention to the longstanding issue of pay equality in sports where more work remains.

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2023, THE NEW YORK TIMES

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