Independent flouts ASA by reviving old slogan

The Independent and The Independent on Sunday are courting controversy by returning to their advertising roots with the “It is. Are you?” strapline for a new campaign.

The newspaper was told by the Advertising Standards Authority in March 1995 that its independence claim was misleading after it ran a campaign knocking The Times and The Telegraph as mouthpieces for their proprietors.

The slogan will resurface in a promotional campaign for The Independent and Independent on Sunday that launches this weekend on TV.

This will be followed by a TV and radio branding campaign and a mailshot to attract long-term subscribers.

The Independent says the campaign will involve its biggest marketing spend for five years.

Jeremy Reed, managing director of The Independent, says: “The slogan can’t be bettered. So we should continue to use it. It reaffirms the position we’ve always had as independent of voice – our raison d’être.”

Reed says he is not anticipating any response to the new ads from other newspaper groups. “We do not have a single proprietor controlling the newspapers and the editors are independent.”

Mirror Group and Tony O’Reilly’s Independent Newspapers of Dublin each own 46 per cent of The Independent – more than they did at the time of the ASA’s adjudication that “the advertisement implied incorrectly that The Independent’s shareholders could not affect the news- paper’s editorial policy and asked the advertiser to withdraw the claim”.

The “It is. Are you?” campaign was created by Saatchi & Saatchi for The Independent’s launch in 1986. At launch, the newspaper placed limits on the size of shareholders’ stakes to stop any gaining a controlling interest.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here