If the story of the Three Little Pigs broke today, how would a modern newspaper cover it? That's the concept behind a new TV ad for The Guardian, the newspaper's first major TV spot for 25 years
The spot launches a campaign to promote the paper's 'open journalism' approach – its name for the way in which it is attempting to involve its readership in not just commenting on stories, but contributing to and even determining its news agenda. "Open is our operating system, a way of doing things that is based on a belief in the open exchange of information, ideas and opinions and its power to bring about change," said Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian and MediaGuardian publisher Guardian News & Media. "The campaign is designed to bring that philosophy to life for new and existing readers."
The launch ad examines the way in which the tale of the Three Little Pigs might be covered by The Guardian today, with all the different forms of content and different channels that implies. It also seeks to get over the way in which stories develop over time as new facts come to light and the effect of social media on switching the focus of coverage and debate.
An epic two-minute version (shown above) debuted on Channel 4 last night.
Comparisons will inevitably be made with 1986's classic Points of View by BMP (indeed the Guardian itself has said that the new ad is a "nod' to the old one. They share an endline: The Whole Picture).
But while Points of View got over its message succintly and elegantly, Three Little Pigs is less focussed, less pithy. This can be seen as a reflection of the changing nature of media – newspapers are now less about relating THE story and more about acting as a platform for multiple strands around a topic to be explored by multiple participants, including the readers themselves, in real time. But it makes for a less memorable piece of advertising storytelling.
"The aim is to reach progressive audiences and show them why they should spend time with us," according to Andrew Miller, chief executive of the Guardian's parent company Guardian Media Group. But you have to wonder whether such progressive types would not be aware of what the Guardian is doing anyway? The ad will probably make existing Guardian readers feel better about themselves, but will its slightly daunting complexity attract many new ones?
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
CR in Print
Thanks for visiting the CR website, but if you are not also reading CR in print you're missing out. Our March issue is an illustration special with features on Clifford Richards, Pick Me Up, the relationship between illustrators and writers, the making of the cover of the New York Times Magazine and a powerful essay by Lawrence Zeegen calling on illustrators to become more engaged with the wider world and accusing the profession of withdrawing "from the big debates of our society to focus on the chit-chat and tittle-tattle of inner-sanctum nothingness".
The best way to make sure you receive CR in print every month is to subscribe – you will also save money and receive our award-winning Monograph booklet every month. You can do so here.