Newspapers deal in stories, they have to find them and write them up every day.
If they find good ones their sales increase.
So when agencies try selling them brand campaigns, they tend to think it’s a lot of namby pamby nonsense.
Instead they prefer their marketing to be based on specific content.
That could be anything from a scoop to a serialisation of an autobiography.
The problem is that the stories are rarely on brand, they are often the kind of thing that any newspaper could print, it just depends on who gets there first.
So having a very branded template is crucial to tie that story with your newspaper.
Here’s some stories we had to promote:
MARLON BRANDO’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. EXCLUSIVE EXTRACTS.
Why, when it’s about Brando, by Brando would you not lead on Brando?
Why go all existential? Weird?
This was better, it has a much higher percentage of Brando.
THE GUARDIAN NOW HAS A BIGGER SPORTS SECTION.
This was rejected.
In favour of this one. Shame.
THE FRED WEST CASE.
It’s six o’clock when Tim Delaney walks in: “We need to send some ads over to The Guardian in about an hour, about a new book on the Fred West case”.
Some people would hate that kind of brief, I loved it.
Two full pages.
The Guardian have to buy.
They’ve no time to fiddle with the art direction.
The only issue is actually coming up with something good within the hour.
Two were bought.
(It’s odd how much of an icon that cheesy house sign became.)
The second one looked very dramatic in the paper.
The idea was to say “xx people go missing every day, this is the only mention it will get in a newspaper.”
I can remember thinking “Shall I put one ‘x’ or two? I’ll put two, it makes the headline more dramatic.
15? 16? Who knows? Hopefully the information department won’t come back with a number too miniscule.”
(Note to editor: He hopes more people go missing because it helps his little ad? TWAT!”)
The information department came back and the ad ran. It said: “273 people go missing every day, this is the only mention it will get in a newspaper.”
INTRODUCING A NEW MUSIC SECTION.
THE GUIDE TELLS YOU WHAT’S HAPPENING IN LONDON.
What strikes me most about these now is how aggressive they are.
We had a couple of goes at Jeremy Beadle.
Once on a 96 sheet.
And once on 6 sheets. (Sorry Jezzlington.)
… and Lady Porter, although to be fair she had just been caught robbing London.
Then we implied everyone reading our posters was boring, or bored.
And then the finished ad.
Somehow unlike all the other ones that look like they were done by a couple of giggling schoolboys.
So the question is: Who’s the culprit?
Why were we having a pop at all and sundry?
Was it Me?
Or was that just an attractive vibe in the 90’s?
Answers on a postcard to…