Marketing lessons for brands from the News of the World








So, after a frenzied seven days, News International closed the door on one of the world’s oldest and most popular newspapers yesterday.

At the time of writing this blog, none of the senior management responsible for one of the darkest periods in British newspaper history have fallen on their swords, but a loss making though popular Sunday tabloid has been shut down, with the loss of hundreds of jobs. And the rumours swirling even before Thursday’s BBC Question Time were that the paper will be quickly replaced by The Sun on Sunday.

From a marketing perspective, it was interesting to watch the discussion unfold as to the reaction of advertisers, their brands and their promotion using channels like tabloid newspapers to access huge demographic groups.

In some cases, it could be seen that first movers like Ford made the decision to remove their advertising with ethical considerations in mind. But in others, surprisingly brands including The Cooperative waited too long, wanting to see how far and how deep public anger would run before clarifying their position.

Marketers must take some critical learnings from this sorry episode.

1. Chose your marketing partners wisely. Your reputation and integrity are intrinsically linked once you do.

2. Whether it is advertising, direct marketing, sponsorship or PR, be mindful that the Internet and portals like Twitter have changed the game forever, transferring power to the public. We saw this week the ease of viral spread of online petitions, lists of target companies,  pre-populated emails and tweets.

3. Deal quickly and decisively and communicate your position and intentions as transparently as you can. Some advertisers had to run adverts in the magazine supplement which was already printed and were quick to advise.

4. Remember corporate social responsibility isn’t just a fad to be included as a bolt on in your marketing plan. Increasingly, it is a critical point of difference and the companies that embody it stand head and shoulders apart from those that merely pay it lip service.

Call me cynical, but I wonder if brands like Halifax, T-Mobile, Virgin and Tesco didn’t just switch their allegiances to other papers on Sunday AND continue to work with the News International stable. Waiting for The Sun on Sunday.

Yes it’s time to make a stand, but as we’re seeing, business is still business. Will marketers learn anything and even remember all this in twelve months time? I’m not so sure.

Image: The Telegraph



5 responses to “Marketing lessons for brands from the News of the World

  1. Interesting thoughts, I must admit when I heard that because it was closing down and they increased their print run whether the advertisers who had pulled out, then changed their mind. But if they did that would certainly harm their brand!

  2. Clive Pearson

    Like the article. Brand association, do they or do they not want to be associated with another brand. But which brand are they distancing themselves from, NoTW, The Sun, News Corp, etc., etc. Those that moved first got the best advantage, where as the rest were just followers.

    So are they now just going to jump ship, and to where. The big advertisers will not want to loose market share, so where are they going to reclaim their profile, or are they going to decide that The Sun fills this gap?

    So, what is the difference between The Sun on Sunday & NoTW?, on the face of it a significant cost saving for News Corporation.

  3. It’s an interesting discussion for sure. Is it inconceivable that The Sun, The Mail, The Mirror etc haven’t been employing the same tactics. Advertisers should be wary.

  4. Clive Pearson

    I’m sure they would have used the same tactic but not to the same extent as NoTW. It will be interesting to see how things pan out over the next weeks and months as advertisers decide how the association between their brand and the Murdoch empire works out.
    This is the time for other marketing mediums to generate some additional revenue, but they need to move fast to capitalise on the opportunity in front of them. Maybe a topic of your next blog, ‘How to capitalise on someone else downfall’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s