Metro, New York City’s second free newspaper, was launched today using classic PR stunts created by the UK PR Shop, Metro Communications. The publisher, Metro International SA, claims the new daily will have a circulation of 300,000.
Taking on 6-month-old rival amNewYork, the new paper launched today, with some 300 men and women in green-and-black polo shirts handing the daily out to commuters at subway and train stations. Free coffee was given away with the papers.
“News Liberation Front” protestors, carrying banners proclaiming “News for Nada,” “Keep News Free” and “Free News Now” picketed the New York Times, New York Post and the Daily News claiming news should be free, according to AdRants which called the stunts “a big deal about nothing.” The stunts definitely worked on some level, because even if the public didn’t care, every news article about the launch mentioned the street teams.
On Thursday morning the METRO ForeheADs, bearing (hopefully) temporary tattoos on their foreheads, will bring the Metro message to commuters and students in Washington Square.
I’m a big fan of street teams, and believe these stunts, even though they are contrived, will help Metro get name recognition for a song. It’ll be harder to get the target audience to actually read the paper. Young people don’t ignore newspapers because they cost 50 cents or a dollar. They ignore them because they prefer to get their news online or on TV. They want to skip the ads and they only want to follow news topics that affect them personally.
Maybe if Metro hands the papers out with free coffee daily for the next six weeks, they’ll stay in people’s minds because they’ll piss off the coffee cart guys who send their kids to college and pay their mortgages from sales to commuters. Then those guys will picket Metro New York and make news.
I’ve seen amNew York employees hawking their papers right in front of the guys who sell paid papers at subway entrances