Monday, 7 December 2009

56 newspapers in 45 countries: 1 front page story

As representatives of the worlds 192 countries get down to the serious business of halting climate change in Copenhagan today; for the first time ever a large group of diverse newspapers spoke with the same voice on this single subject.

In an extraordinary feat of co-ordiation, diplomacy and sheer bloody-mindedness. The Guardian in the UK has managed to pull off an outstanding coup at the start of this vital series of meetings.

Since September its 'Greenlight' editorial team, led by Ian Katz, have been hard at work convincing, cojoling, drafting and re-drafting a single story designed to run on the front page of as many papers who would carry it.

It starts like this

"Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.

Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted."

From reading Ian Katz' story behind the story you can begin to see what an undertaking this was. I met Ian about 18 months ago in London as our agency wanted to understand more about the climate change debate post 'An Inconvenient Truth'. He talked very authoriatively then and clearly continues to lead the vangguard on the subject.

We talk an awful lot about media firsts in out business - certainly one of our more over-used cliches. But this is a media first of genuine innovation. When the pressure is on for newspapers globally, I think its a very heathly sign that work like this can be produced.

Clearly there are many different points of view on climate change - not least since the stories of email leaks from the University of East Anglia came to light - so I am full of admiration for getting a single script agreed for so many papers, in so many countries, with so many differing positions on climate change. The only disappointment? Probably the reaction of the American media - with only the Miami Hearld (Katz says we should buy 2 of this brave paper whenever in Florida) printing the story. Indeed the Guardian received this little missive from one climate chnage denier in the States "This is an outrageous attempt to orchestrate media pressure. Go to hell."

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Curse of the Gillette 3 and and the joys of photoshop...

You can not escape the seeming untamed joy of sports and brand commentators with this story. Its everywhere.

First Henry re-enacts the Hand of God and puts those puckly Irish out World Cup (leading to farcical debate about the '33rd team'), then Mr Reliable, Tiger Woods is caught up in a car-crash-cum-domestic which has seen debate and innuendo grow as he kept his silence. Its now not a question of whether he had an affair but how many.

So 2 out of the Gillette 3 have brought a certain amount of, how to put this, somewhat negative publicity their way and as a result heaped unwanted focus on to the Gilette brand which they are paid handsomely to represent.

Federer appears to have avoided the full curse so far - I do not think that failing to win the ATP Finals really puts him in 'curse' territory. He is simply not having a great season by his high standards.

There are big questions over what Gillettes response will be. Well I would imagine they currently have a team of lawyers pouring over the various contracts but I would be surprised if Gillette seek to pull the plug on these high profile, long-term deals. However, there is some evidence of a level of embarrassment on Gillettes part. I've just seen this post on Huffington Post - evidence of a bit of diplomatic editing.

It looks like Gillette have altered the French version of the current work to remove all conitations of Henry being a handball-ist. Note the dofference between the old Spanish version of this opening frame and the new French version

Old Spanish version of Gillette ad

New French version of same ad. Not lack of football in Henry's palm.

Question is: will they removed the car keys from Wood's pocket next?