Why Are Three Little Pigs Advertising a Newspaper?


littlepiggies Why Are Three Little Pigs Advertising a Newspaper?

The PR Verdict: “C” for the Guardian and its advertising launch.

The famous nursery tale of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf isn’t normally what the Guardian newspaper of the UK is traditionally associated with. But in a puzzling advertisement, the tale of the three little pigs forms the cornerstone of the Guardian’s new campaign. The wolf is murdered by three little pigs in a setting that resembles the ongoing financial crisis.

The campaign’s intent is to increase awareness that the Guardian is more than just a newspaper. Leading with its proposition of “open journalism”, the thrust is that news is now participatory, including web, print, tablet and mobile and that readers have the opportunity to shape any story.

The commercial ends with a surprising twist and while borrowing from a nursery tale is a clever idea, the concept sits oddly with the newspaper’s established track record.

The PR Verdict: “C” for the Guardian and its advertising launch. Credibility is a serious newspaper’s key brand attribute.  Is it wise to jettison it in favor of a nursery story?

This positioning seems unnecessary for a news organization with a proven track record. Given the Guardian prides itself on its landmark news stories, including Wiki leaks and most recently the Murdoch phone hacking scandal, using  three little pigs is at best confusing. With such an impressive track record, why make something up?  What is the next step in a campaign like this; the assassination of Humpty Dumpty?

To see the adverstisement click here. To read what the Guardian says about its campaign click here and for more on “open journalism” click here.

How would you grade this campaign. Tell us your view:

[polldaddy poll=5996901]


Rush Limbaugh vs Sandra Fluke: No Hard Feelings Sandra?

limbaugh31 300x225 Rush Limbaugh vs Sandra Fluke: No Hard Feelings Sandra?

The PR Verdict: “F” for an apology that isn’t.

Rush Limbaugh, the notoriously polemical radio talk show host, yielded to public pressure Saturday.  He issued a public apology to law student Sandra Fluke who he had previously called a “slut” and a “prostitute” during his radio program. Limbaugh conceded in his apology that his  “choice of words was not the best.”  No hard feelings then, Sandra?

Fluke had previously testified to Democrats on a House committee about health care plans. Limbaugh objected to her testimony, which supported compelling her college to offer health plans that cover her birth control.

Reactions to Limbaugh’s broadcast comments were swift and intense. All could smell PR blood. President Obama called Fluke to offer his support (and made that public), while no less than six major advertisers have suspended advertising.

The PR Verdict: “F” for an apology that isn’t. In PR terms this was not an effective apology. At best, it was a clarifying statement.

Public apologies are never easy. The golden PR rule: State clearly what you are apologizing for, and then stop talking. Reinforce the apology with an unexpected action and save self-serving and mitigating factors for day two. Limbaugh would have gotten more mileage by inviting Fluke on his show to make her case rather than launching back into his arguments, as he did with his apology. Fluke still has the upper PR hand and advertisers haven’t changed their decision to withdraw. Sometimes it’s hard to say you’re sorry.

To read the full apology click here and to read more about his click here

What’s your PR verdict on Rush Limbaugh’s apology to Sandra Fluke? Give us your grade:

[polldaddy poll=5996903]









Lowe’s, American Muslims & the Florida Family Association

lowes ama Lowes, American Muslims & the Florida Family AssociationLowe’s the home improvement retailer was one of the key advertisers on a reality show called All American Muslim, on TLC the cable channel.  The show profiles five ordinary American Muslim families.

This was too much for the Florida Family Association (FFA), which pushed Lowe’s to pull its ads from the program. The FFA said the show “hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger.”

Lowe’s pulled the advertising and apologized for having “managed to make some people very unhappy.”  Now Ted Lieu, a Californian state senator says he is considering calling for a boycott, branding Lowe’s decision “un-American”.

With over 25,000 comments on Lowe’s Facebook page calling Lowe’s cowardly and others angry that they were advertising at all, this is now officially a mess.

The PR Verdict: “C Minus” for Lowe’s. This tricky situation could have been avoided.

Lowe’s pressed the panic button too early. By pulling the ads they handed the FFA a needless and unjustified victory. The priority now is to get the senator on side.  Organise a roundtable with the backing of TLC the broadcaster, the senator, the FFA and spokespeople for American Muslims. Have TLC profile the meeting on its Facebook pages and Lowe’s own and then close the chapter as quickly as possible. In future, next time a pressure group like the FFA comes knocking, doing nothing is always an option.

To read more click here.