Left on Read: Washington Post and Koto asks readers to ignore digital noise in new ads

Subtract the Noise advertises The Washington Post’s new personal health section, Well+Being, with a five-screen takeover in Times Square.

28 October 2022


Koto’s New York office has collaborated with The Washington Post on an impressive new ad campaign this week, which includes the publication’s first-ever ad buy in Times Square. The week-long, five-screen takeover marks the launch of Well+Being – a new personal health section in The Washington Post that focuses its offering on expert-backed health research and advice. Campaign Subtract the Noise illustrates this focus by amplifying the same reader-submitted questions that inform the publication’s articles.

Across the ads, digital noise comes from many sources. First, The Washington Post suggests the internal daily hubbub of “concerns, thoughts and feelings” that we all experience with “an overstimulating swell of reader-submitted questions”, Koto explains in a recent Instagram post. But it also hints at the overwhelming sea of, often unfounded, answers readers can run into with a Google search. Mirroring the tagline, “subtract the noise, add the experts”, animations in the campaign show the questions clearing to reveal Well+Being as a blank space where you can find advice in the form of articles from neuroscientists, psychologists, nutritionists, doctors and more.

A colourful range of thought bubbles, emojis and message boxes make up the visuals in Subtract the Noise, which as The Post puts it, “disperse to the edges of the ad to reveal the tagline set against a serene blue sky”.

Koto also explained the decision to launch across Times Square. On Instagram, the agency states the placement shows “that, even in the epicentre of sensory overload, there is a place to step out of the noise, and get a bit of relief and even a few answers”. Perrin Lawrence, head of brand and consumer marketing at The Post adds: “Times Square is arguably the most hectic pedestrian intersection in the country. It’s a perfect place to interrupt the chaos a day can bring and create space to pause and consider your own wellbeing.”

Subtract the Noise will also run in transit shelters in San Francisco and Washington till 11 November, as well as on the Post’s own platforms. To celebrate the campaign, the 11 October print edition of The Post will feature a colouring page “to bring about a moment of mindfulness”, the publication states. It will also offer physical and digital stickers that reflect Well+Being’s content pillars of food, fitness, mind, body and life.

GalleryKoto / The Washington Post: Subtract the Noise for The Washington Post’s Well+Being section (Copyright © The Washington Post/ Koto, 2022)

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Koto / The Washington Post: Subtract the Noise for The Washington Post’s Well+Being section (Copyright © The Washington Post/ Koto, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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