Magazine article Marketing

Marketers Could Learn a Good Deal from the Papers

Magazine article Marketing

Marketers Could Learn a Good Deal from the Papers

Article excerpt

In Evelyn Waugh's hilarious novel, Scoop, journalism is wonderfully satirised, starting with the book's premise - a naturalist called 'Boot' is hired as a foreign correspondent by The Daily Beast. He is utterly unqualified, but has been mistaken for another Boot who is.

I have seen things not much less ludicrous. One old acquaintance who enjoyed a brief reign in the senior echelons of The Daily Mirror would have made a perfect press megalomaniac had he held on to his job long enough. One day when stalking the corridors he saw someone who reported to him and asked, "Have you got your passport?" Upon being told "No", he said, "Never be without your passport. Go home and get it. Then take the next plane to Rome and await my instructions". The dutiful young man did so- then spent a week waiting for instructions that never came.

Being rude about newspapers is a little unfair when you look at some of the nonsense that goes on in our own industry. Did you know, for instance, that at Pepsi-Cola somebody holds the title 'head of flavours'?

The fictional proprietor in Scoop, Lord Copper, was an amalgam of Northcliffe and Beaverbrook, the great press lords of that era. Northcliffe went mad, and I am surprised more people in the newspaper industry don't do the same. A good insight into Beaverbrook's approach was that he insisted on being referred to as the Chief Reader.

He knew a good proprietor should be a sort of surrogate and understand what his readers wanted. …

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