Insights from the UK and beyond
The London Evening Standard says “sorry”
Bleary-eyed commuters passing through Clapham Junction station in southwest London on their way to work this week were among the first to witness the opening blast of one of the most remarkable advertising campaigns to have hit the capital in recent years.******No, not Flu Man sneezing his germs all over us but a short message in huge black lettering that simply says: “Sorry for losing touch.”******The only clue as to who is so publicly donning the hair shirt is a small drawing tucked away in the corner of the hoarding featuring the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus, the logo of London’s only paid-for evening paper, the Evening Standard.******The message is an attempt by the paper to reconnect with its readership now that it is under new ownership and will appear in the next few weeks on the side of buses and on the underground. Other slogans will say Sorry for being negative, for taking you for granted, for being complacent and for being predictable.******Not the hardest word at all then, though one that seems likely to cause considerable offence to the paper’s former editor Veronica Wadley.******The campaign comes in response to market research, commissioned by the newspaper’s new editor, Geordie Greig, which found that Londoners felt the paper was too negative and did not meet the capital’s needs.******Russian tycoon and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev bought the loss-making Standard from the Daily Mail and General Trust in February and media analysts have long predicted it will become less right-wing in its political stance. Some expect it to go more upmarket in an attempt to distance itself from the free sheets which have cut so badly into its circulation.******But few can have predicted such a public confessional as this. The “Sorry” campaign will run for three weeks in the run-up to the 181-year-old paper’s relaunch later this month.******After a year in which so many have been clamouring for a ”sorry” from miscreants ranging from bankers to MPs and even debt-laden prime ministers, Londoners may actually soon find themselves becoming sick of the word.