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Summary:

A visit to the Cheltenham Science Festival this weekend was instructive in how newspapers aim to leverage reader loyalty, and how The Times…

TheTimes.co.uk homepage, May 12

A visit to the Cheltenham Science Festival this weekend was instructive in how newspapers aim to leverage reader loyalty, and how The Times is playing its pre-paywall push…

The paper was the festival’s headline sponsor, and Times marketing operatives with clipboards were out in force, enlisting visitors milling around Imperial Square in the sun with trial Times+ website memberships.

To what end? Well, the event gave a glimpse at the privileged life a Times reader might enjoy after signing up. That includes putting one’s feet up at the makeshift Times Cafe, inside of which card-carrying Times+ members received free tea and coffee, while the rest of us dipped in to our pockets…

There goes the adage about newspapers and the price of Starbucks #pcukbuzz

That’s a curious play on the pitch that the Times websites will cost “the price of a cup of coffee”.

Embarrassed by the social disparity? Well, an adjacent plinth was on hand to take your free website registration, before the site goes paid-only later this month…

TinesPlus marketers out in force at #cheltscifest, doing sign-ups w/ clipboards. Good market for them #pcukbuzz

And take away a Times+ notebook, pen and poster in your tote bag for good measure…

Times promo bag

The whole thing was tied together nicely with frequent panel discussions, hosted by reporters from The Times’ Eureka science supplement, also in The Times Cafe…

Times cafe

This is the newspaper as club.

It was a good market for The Times. Well-heeled Cheltenhamites wearing Panama hats are ideal targets – and if Times Newspapers can make enough of them feel loved with freebies, events and discounted tickets, it may yet encourage enough of them to show loyalty by subscribing.

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  1. peter hobday Monday, June 21, 2010

    Classic ‘filter-down the classes’ marketing from the Times. I am sure it will work, just as it has in the past. The opposite method was used for marketing satellite TV: ‘Filter-up the classes’, from council estate up to country estate.

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