Phew! It’s Tuesday January 16th, which means that, by the mere fact you are reading this, you have made it past the supposed ‘most depressing day of the year’. This is the third Monday in January when reality really hits home – Christmas is a distant memory, the nights are long, dark and cold and consumers everywhere feel the financial burn from a combination of unchecked spending and one month since the last pay cheque. Is this an unfortunate truth or, as some news sources suggest, a made-up calendar date to allow marketeers to create some welcome media buzz for their clients at a time of consumer spending hibernation? My money is on the latter, but either way, its existence is now engrained in the media and PR’s psyche.
One example of how this was used to good effect this week was a shrewd guerilla move by creative agency/ publishing house Church of London (the team behind ace fashion/skate/surf mag HUCK), who produced The Good Times, a free ‘good news’ newspaper which was distributed across London on Blue Monday, filled with good news stories and messages of encouragement. Containing interviews with social entrepreneurs and some lovely artwork and photo’s, the initiative was designed to spread joy and banish the January blues.
A nice idea which ticked the checklist for producing good content. It was free, sharable, spread good news or made people laugh AND it was original – taking a well-known media folly and effectively turning it on its head. The association and new traffic to Church of London’s portfolio of magazines wouldn’t have hurt either.
The creative team behind it may (or may not) have been rubbing their hands at their timely co-ordination with other events in the media. On the other side of town from the chouette East london offices of CoL, the Leveson inquiry proceeded apace at the Royal Courts of Justice – a sad spotlight on the declining power and influence of the print newspaper establishment. As The Good News splashed happiness and joy, court 73 of the RCJ spilt the blood of the old guard – the untouchables of print business. An uneasy and unintended parallel, but one that perfectly exemplifies the fluctuating fortunes of traditional print media versus the new king – content.