Monday, 4 May 2009

The Evening Standard apologises for being rubbish

The Evening Standard will today launch an ad campaign apologising to Londoners for being such a bunch of vindictive, out of touch, snotty-nosed, misery-bags.

The move follows research commissioned by the paper's new editor which shows that Londoners would overwhelmingly prefer to burn in hell than ever read their grotty rag again.

According to Standard and Guardian columnist Roy Greenslade:

"The market research evidently discovered that Londoners considered the paper to be too negative, not celebratory enough and guilty of failing to cater for the capital's needs. A great city with great facilities was being persistently talked down.

"Greig's response to the findings was to deal with them head on. He takes the view that the only possible way to win back readers who have deserted, and attract new ones, is to be honest and admit to previous failings."

The adverts, which will run on the paper's hated bus and tube network, come ahead of a full relaunch of the title on May 11th.

Advertising slogans are expected to include "Sorry for losing touch," "Sorry for being negative," "Sorry for taking you for granted," "Sorry for being complacent," and "Sorry for being predictable."

The campaign will be seen as a slap in the face for despised former editor Veronica Wadley and pet cat Andrew Gilligan, under whose miserable reign the paper hemorrhaged Londoner's remaining respect.

Meanwhile, the decision to talk up London and its people is thought to have been greeted with the sound of loud cheers from the eighth floor of City Hall.

"Sorry for being complacent" photo taken by @robblemitchell 
"Sorry for losing touch" photo taken by @theklan
"Nothing to look into" by Mr. Stop Boris
853 blog have found the video ad


Will H said...

Only one thing to say, i'll believe it when I see it.

Tom said...

This sort of thing?

Andrew Gilligan on why Peter Hendy is doing a fine job
Simon Jenkins on his enthusiasm for modernism
Satan on why TfL's new 'skating to work' plans get the thumbs up.

AdamB said...

The Diary page on this year's British Press Awards

Rayyan said...

LOL, I don't believe it!

Bit late for them to make up for electing Boris.

Neil Harding said...

yeah, when are they going to apologise to ken? And to londoners for landing us with boris?

AdamB said...

Never mind Boris, where's the apology for landing us with Gilligan?

Tom said...

Boris helped there too, if memory serves.

AdamB said...

853 says sorry isn't enough. Hear hear.

Anonymous said...

"Bit late for them to make up for electing Boris"

"yeah, when are they going to apologise to ken? And to londoners for landing us with boris?"

Darn and drat! Had it not been for that pesky Standard....

That's right, Londoners are a bunch of idiots who were brainwashed by the Standard and "Dispatches". They really ought to be protected from a better class of person -- like you lot.

The Left: loud, confident and wrong. (1997-2010) RIP

So long, blather on.

AdamB said...

(1997-2010)? Since when were the Labour government 'left'?

Will H said...

A few posters aren't going to change anything, it's still the same lot writing it as someone says under the Greenslade article take a look at their list of columnists it doesn't represent any London that i recognise.

AdamB said...

A new Evening Standard apology poster has been spotted on the Tube

Tom said...

"So long, blather on."

And you are?
a) Toby Young?
b) Andrew Gilligoon?
c) A. N. Other-Sadhack?

Rayyan said...

Those Londoners who don't know the little naked angel man logo or the title font of the Standard won't have a clue as to what it's about, so not the most effective of apologies. They'll have to sack Gilligan before I care.

Helen said...

I imagine many commuters will think it's Gordon Brown's campaign.

AdamB said...

Yes it's a strange one isn't it? I've been thinking about this over night and can't quite work out whether it is a really clever piece of PR or a Gerald Ratner moment.

Are people going to think 'Oh yes they've changed' even if they haven't, or are they just going to think 'oh yes, they are crap, we knew it all along"?

The comments under the Greenslade piece suggest the latter.

cheeseboard said...

It's pretty clearly 'inspired' by the times campaign from last year, with the photos on black backgrounds which developed into a fairly coherent, recognisable campaign, if not actual sales (as far as i can tell - primarily since the product hadn't changed at all).

Problem is that 1) it's thus already been done and 2) there's no sense that the paper itself has actually changed at all, which is the problem they've identified, and this is coming ahead of a relaunch.

The quality of columnists is so low and they so clearly phone their stuff in (Nick Cohen in particular, every single one of his columns is a half-rewritten press release, often with basic fact-checking errors, and even if I was a Cohen-admirer I'd feel shortchanged) means I'm unlikely to ever buy it again even if they import the LRB editorial staff. The 'investigative journalism' is too obviously partisan to be taken seriously, and that doesn't just apply to Gilligan.

But the main problem is that there's not very much more in it than in the two freesheets. It's padded out with a load of high-society drivel but it's still hardly good value for money when you compare it with one of the dailies. And it's always had a real north-london-and-the-suburbs focus, probably reflecting its readership, but not of interest to south-of-the-river people like me.

AdamB said...

Yes I noticed the similarity with the Times ads as well and I think that's probably the direction Grieg will be looking to take the paper in. To shift it from being a London version of the Mail to a London version of the Times.

Like most people, I'm not convinced that is going to be enough to save it, but it will certainly be an improvement on the current situation.

The paper's biggest problem is its stable of writers. They just don't represent the London that most of us live in and their stance on most issues is staggeringly out of touch and slightly depressing. If they really want to change it they need to get in some more decent writers who care about what's going on in the City.

Clearing out the old sock draw while they're at it wouldn't be a bad idea either.

cheeseboard said...

the columnists have been picked because of political beliefs as opposed to any actual relevance to London, and while that's fine if you only want to appeal to right-wing commuters, it's not fine if you want to actually expand sales. In general the pproach to hiring columnists is symptomatic of a paper which thought of itself as a national, but which really wasn't. Nick Cohen is perhaps the worst example - even though his own website describes itself as 'Writing from London', I'm not sure he's ever really understood the city, and his pieces on london issues never really get beyond stereotypical Islington-bashing. In general, the 'prestige' of names like Cohen and Jenkins is undermined by the poverty of the stuff they turn in for the Standard, because as national journos they would naturally view the London local press as unfit for thier best stuff. As commenters on the Greenslade blog say, although time out is filing there is a genuine sense of a love of London in that magazine, and you just don't get that in the Standard.

Anonymous said...

"the columnists have been picked because of political beliefs as opposed to any actual relevance to London"

yeah, like THIS one.

AdamB said...

AofE - do you realise almost every comment you leave here is about Ken Livingstone? Do you think it might be time to move on?

cheeseboard said...

Ken's written 2 columns for them in 2 years. i was talking about the ones who actually write on a regular basis. But then again, i think you knew that.

Anonymous said...

Newspapers have to be there for their readers. Must give facts. Regardless of the Editors political persuassion. let articles be non bias.