Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: By-Election Offers Chance to Rebrand

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: By-Election Offers Chance to Rebrand

Article excerpt

It is time to get in the application to be Kelvin MacKenzie's campaign manager. His is a brand in need of a relaunch, and the by-election at Haltemprice and Howden is a heaven-sent opportunity.

Even the hyper-critical will admit that MacKenzie achieved considerable success as editor of The Sun, despite blips such as the over-enthusiastic coverage of Elton John's activities and the Hillsborough football disaster. At the Wireless Group, he also created a British cultural icon in TalkSPORT.

Since then, however, MacKenzie's attempts to turn himself into an enduring media owner, or even serious media businessman, have hardly set the world alight.

First there was the collapse of business magazine publisher Highbury House Communications while MacKenzie was at the helm, and now Roger Parry has his work cut out trying to sort out the mess at Media Square, although, as former chairman, MacKenzie can hardly be held entirely responsible for its pounds 24m losses last year.

Indeed, compared with that of his old sparring partner, former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, MacKenzie's career has taken a nosedive, and until last Thursday, it was anybody's guess where it was going.

TV shows such as Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor only need so many rude, insensitive, boorish people to fill their quota. The House of Commons, however, is the perfect venue for a relaunch. Even the prospects of a peerage may not be dead - but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

MacKenzie must have realised that a career in politics was beckoning earlier this year, when he stood as an independent in local elections in safely Conservative home ward, for a seat on Elmbridge Council. He put in a promising performance for a first-time candidate, securing 21% of the vote to push the Liberal Democrats into third place - on a platform based on the cost of car parking in Elmbridge. With no Liberal Democrat candidate standing in the East Yorkshire by-election, who knows what might be possible? MacKenzie is clearly ready for the big one.

However, there are a few foreseeable difficulties. The alleged originator of the plan, Rupert Murdoch, may be having second thoughts You can see why the News Corp chairman reacted to David Davis' departure by suggesting MacKenzie's candidature - it offered a chance to help out his new best friend David Cameron by sticking one on Davis, while gaining substantial publicity for The Sun, for which MacKenzie is a columnist. …

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