Marketing Nightmare for Media Mogul

The British media, Newspapers in particular, are wringing their hands over the “phone hacking” allegations against Rupert Murdoch’s news empire. Resignations and arrests of senior staff have now spread to top police officials, with the head and second in command at Scotland Yard the latest casualties.Marketing Nightmare

The wave of self-righteous indignation from the rest of the media and politicians is nauseating and seems more about heaping as much trouble as possible onto a feared competitor than fixing a problem.

I have no sympathy for Rupert Murdoch or his newspapers, if people are found guilty of breaking the law let them suffer the consequences.

Hacking the phones of murder victim’s families or those of servicemen killed on duty is a despicable act.

But let’s remember why the phone hackers and information peddlers are tempted to break the law and overstep the bounds of decency, because the stories these acts generate sell newspapers.

Let’s also remember that we have been down this road before, with a few twists and turns. Older Baby Boomers will remember the Profumo scandal in Britain.

A similar phenomenon in North America, is the (apparently) huge numbers of viewers of the “instant justice” type TV programmes hosted by bitterly biased former prosecutors. Most people will not admit to watching them and publicly condemn them but enough still do to make them worthwhile for the studios to produce.

So to my mind, the readers of these newspapers bear some of the guilt as well. And that should include those who think nothing of buying magazines to look at illicitly obtained paparazzi photographs of celebrities.

So what has this got to do with marketing?

Four things:

  • No matter how big and powerful you may be, if you push the envelope of unethical or illegal practices too far, it will backfire on you.
  • You can only “buy” influence or immunity for so long.
  • When it starts to unravel, huge sacrifices have to be made to try to preserve the core business.
  • Although your competitors may be equally as guilty, they will delight in your downfall.

It is also quite amazing to me that this is the top news item right now with the economy  still in a mess, another British soldier killed in Afghanistan this week and millions  starving in the horn of Africa.

Where are our priorities?

Will the increase in”citizen journalism” using cell phone cameras and social media make things better or worse? Probably yes and no.

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.

Peter Wright



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