Paper Says "We’re Sorry" But Do Readers Care?

In London, newspaper marketing has reached a new low. In today’s WSJ, a story reveals a new strategy to promote a revamped Evening Standard, the lone paid daily paper, that competes with two free dailies and is losing the battle. Their pitch? We’re sorry.

The afternoon daily began a billboard campaign that declared ‘Sorry for being compacent,’ and ‘for losing touch,’ and ‘being predictable.’ The paper’s new owners are trying to convince reluctant readers that they’re now in touch, and that they’ll be different, and hopefully more appealing. The unidentified billboards use the same typeface as the paper’s logo, but their stark message has taken Londoners by surprise.

The new owner is Russian business tycoon Alexander Lebedev, who is toning down the conservative paper’s opinion pages and redesigning the broadsheet to be launched on Monday. A new set of billboards and ads will promise that the paper ‘will listen,’ and ‘to surprise you.’