NOTW toxicity could hit News Int, say advertisers

Advertising industry bodies say that News of the World’s toxicity may have infected other News International brands, which could lead to an advertiser boycott of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

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Fresh allegations have been levelled at The Sun and The Sunday Times this week, accusing the newspapers of using illegal methods to access former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s personal information.

Ian Barber, director of communications at the Advertising Association, says it is critical for advertisers to judge News International’s crisis correctly due to the “tidal wave” of public opinion as the story unfolds.

He says: “Advertisers considering their position with News International is quite understandable. With the News of the World, advertisers had to make the clear leap of responding to consumer demand [and quickly suspending ads], but it is more nuanced at News International.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, president of the IPA, says: “Advertisers have to be prepared to not underestimate the power of the crowd and plan for uncertainty as there is still anger bubbling under the surface aimed at News International.”

Renault became the first brand to say it will suspend advertising in all News International newspapers last week. Other advertisers have told Marketing Week they will continue to review their ongoing relationships with News International while police investigations are taking place.

Paul Hayes, managing director of News International Commercial, says: “We appreciate that the closure of the News of the World has had an affect on our commercial partners, and we will continue to communicate and engage with them during this difficult time. News International is considering plans for the future, and remains sensitive to the needs of our advertisers.”

It is thought News International will launch a new Sunday title to fill the gap of the now-closed News of the World, rumoured to be named the Sun on Sunday, but commentators have warned that any new title will need to be differentiated to ensure it is not just a “rebadging” exercise.

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