Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Mirror's New Message: Guts Not the Gutter

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Mirror's New Message: Guts Not the Gutter

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEX BENADY

THERE is little more entertaining than the sight of competing newspapers having a good old scrap. This month, it is the tabloids' turn. The redtops are squaring up for a vitriolic advertising war after The Mirror launched an attack on The Sun and Daily Star in a series of commercials, accusing them of gutter journalism.

The campaign, currently restricted to the Central TV region, but soon to be aired nationally, aims to seize the moral high ground for The Mirror by lampooning the other tabloids' approach to news. The Sun, meanwhile, has gone the other way, and launched a "saucy" campaign reasserting its traditional tabloid values.

The Mirror's TV commercials, produced by M&C Saatchi, start off in the style of serious TV news reports. One, featuring Vanessa Feltz, purports to look at the issue of homelessness. It shows Feltz presenting a cheque to a charity.

But, instead of concerning itself with the meaty issues surrounding rough sleepers, the camera focuses on Feltz's bosom, and the reporter sniggers: "Let's hope it's only Vanessa's ample assets that bounce." Another reduces the reporting of a military coup in India to the question of which side makes the best curry; and a third report, about a big drug seizure, rapidly descends into an investigation of the short hemline of the air hostess who found the drugs.

All the ads then flash the caption: "If this was your TV news, you would turn over", followed by the campaign tagline, "The Mirror: the guts not the gutter."

The Sun's campaign, which kicked off in the mid-break of the News at Ten on Monday, takes precisely the opposite approach. The ads show a pair of baps, followed by hooters, jugs ... and finally, for the viewers who haven't quite got the joke yet, a couple of melons (geddit?), followed by the words: "Page 3 - we love it. …

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