The Independent’s failed Classic Film Collection promotion has been blasted by the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading readers.
The promotion, in which videos were available for 3 with a purchase of the Saturday Independent, cost Mirror Group marketing director designate Charles Kirchner his job and the company over 500,000 without adding anything to the title’s Audit Bureau of Circulation figures.
Now the ASA has upheld a complaint that the advertising campaign for the promotion misled readers by promoting films and directors that were never included.
Only one of three films named in a poster drive was made available. It also listed four directors but provided only one film by any of them.
The Mirror Group claimed that when the campaign was booked it believed the films advertised would be available but eventually failed to secure them from distributors.
The company also claimed it only advertised directors “of the calibre” of the named film-makers.
“The whole thing has been a cock-up,” says one source at The Independent. “Think how far the money would have gone if it had been spent on badly needed journalists.”
It is understood that in the first week The Independent overestimated the number of films that would be taken up by more than 300,000.
Circulation for the first month of the promotion, April, fell to 276,029, the lowest for 15 months.