Sunday 10 July 2011

What happened to the advertiser’s boycott in the NOTW today?

The scant regard to proper data protection standards paid by former employees of the News of the World resulted in the inevitable hemorrhaging of support for that organ, and its ultimate demise today.

One of the issues which emerged over the past few days was whether advertisers would wish to place adverts in that newspaper in future. Some companies announced that they were withdrawing their advertising, while others explained that they were considering their position.

In the end, what did happen?

The newspaper itself, all 68 pages, contained no paid adverts. Where there might have been commercial adverts, the space was occupied with messages about registered charities.

So far, so good.

But, tucked into my edition, bought from my local newsagent, was a sealed plastic bag, containing the newspaper’s award-winning magazine Fabulous, together with separate flyers promoting deals from Virgin Media and from Vodafone. My sealed bag may well have just been distributed in the North London area. I simply don’t know. And it could have been prepared well before the advertisers had decided what stance to take as far as the main newspaper was concerned.

The 76 page magazine itself contained full page adverts for Olay (p 2), L’Oreal (p 12), Tesco (p 17, 20-21, 26), Boots (p 25), Ribena (p 30), Sleek (p 42), Nivea (p 46), Jenny Craig (p 55), Vodafone (p 58), Sure (p 67), O2 (p 75) and Sky (p 76).

It will be interesting to see if there is any adverse customer reaction to these adverts. Perhaps there really is a difference between an advertising boycott of a newspaper, and an advertising boycott of a newspaper's magazine, even when it is sold as an integral part of that newspaper.

But, if all the money earned by the magazine’s proprietors for this edition is to be donated to charitable causes, then perhaps it’s all to the best.