At the Media 360 conference in Edinburgh in April of this year, Trinity Mirror boss Sly Bailey called on media agencies to join together with newspapers to come up with more innovative ideas.
Things would be much smoother if the two parties worked more closely together, she argued.
Whether or not she would have imagined this meaning her flagship title going green for the day and bringing out an advertiser-funded lad’s mag, is another matter.
But that’s exactly what the Daily Mirror did on Wednesday, thanks to a tie up with MindShare and its client Gillette, who were aiming to convince men that things would go much smoother if they forked out ten quid – yes it’s true – for one of the company’s fancy new M3Power Razors.
Admittedly, the eventual timing of the campaign – part of Mindshare’s major pre-Christmas drive for the M3 Power Razors – could have worked out better.
As well as the front cover redesign, the tie-up also featured 3pm, a 25-page supplement for men, intended to twin what MindShare described as “the Mirror’s popular female targeted magazine 3am“.
Sadly for both parties, last week the Mirror announced it was ditching the 3am mag.
The supplement went ahead, however, including features such as Top Ten Sporting Close Shaves, and liberal use of M3 Power logos, as well as plenty of saucy babes of course.
The bigger question is, will MindShare’s rivals, and The Mirror’s for that matter, be going green with envy that they didn’t think of such a good idea.
As far as MindShare, and other agencies are concerned, this sort of advertiser-funded content is likely to be one of the key strategies in years to come, as advertisers seek a closer relationship with their customers.
For media owners like the Mirror, however, changing its look to suit the advertiser could be interpreted as a sign of weakness, although it has done it before with Pepsi.
Maybe the time has come when newspapers will no longer be able to be quite as precious as in the past about their look anyway, and if big spending advertisers like Gillette are prepared to fund editorial – amid falling sales – they may be forced to do this sort of thing more often.
By Ian Quinn