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Lincoln Ad for Free Access to NYTimes.com for the Rest of 2011

Lincoln has embraced the strategy of making its cars more visible, so it decided to make a partnership with The New York Times to offer to a selected group of persons free unlimited access to NYTimes.com, that normally will need payment starting March 28th. The value of this offer is close to $150 and the motivation for this kind of marketing exercise could be the number of about 200,000 of the Times’s heaviest online readers who aren’t home delivery subscribers.

So, Lincoln’s expectations are quite optimistic: they estimate that about 100,000 people will actually activate the offer. This could be a shy and not very creative attempt of this car producer to change its old town car’s image by engaging the exactly people it should be telling its story to, also considered to be, in some ways, the leaders and highly active and engaged with the site. In addition, the program is technologically up to date too, offering free access to the Times’ smartphone applications. However, Lincoln’s strategy could be considered suitable if we take into account the fact that experienced internet users are more likely to be impressed by SYNC and MyLincoln Touch than any other old user or fan of Lincoln’s cars.

This is how the text of the ad sounds like: “Beginning March 28. The New York Times will charge for unlimited access to its Web site. Experience all that NYTimes.com has to offer you for the rest of 2011 at no charge, courtesy of Lincoln. This extraordinary invitation is being extended to an exclusive group of visitor to NYTimes.com”.

On the other hand, The Times has not yet decided whether to make similar programs available to other marketers too, declaring: “We will evaluate it and see how it worked and consider it, certainly.”

What is your opinion: is this a good marketing exercise for Lincoln? Did The Times take the right decision by getting involved into this or would it have its reputation and budgets affected by this as soon as the 2011 year ends?

[Source: Autoblog, Photo: Talkingnewmedia]