AFR launches ‘revolution’ campaign and tells readers: We weren’t good enough

The Australian Financial Review today carries a message to readers from publisher Brett Clegg and editor-in-chief Michael Stutchbury acknowledging that the newspaper needed to raise its game.

The letter, part of the Fairfax Media title’s first ever wraparound, tells readers:

“There are plenty of news sources competing for your time. We have to earn your loyalty. We have to deliver around the clock and we have to meet your information needs.

“We don’t just report on business and the market – we are a business too and we are responsive to our market – you. There is no standing still for any of us.

“And we know we have had to step up our performance.”

Clegg and Stuchbury both joined the Fin from the Australian after former publisher Michael Gill and editor Glenn Burge were ousted by new Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood in March. The letter promised readers a “revolution”. It said: “We have a new leadership team in editorial and commercial and like you we are aggressively responding to a volatile and changing market place.”

The letter also refers to the new pricing structure for its online content which was revealed last month. It says: “After five years we have a better understanding of how to get it right… The cost of web-only access is being priced to market and substantially reduced.”

The note also acknowledges that the newspaper has been slow to react to the rise of mobile. It says: “Next year we will deliver more innovation and improvements including – finally – tablet and smart phone applications.”

The revolution message is backed with images of Australian business leaders portrayed in the style of the iconic Che Guevera poster. Those featured include former Nine owner James Packer, Seven boss Kerry Stokes, News Limited boss Kim Williams, Fairfax’s Hywood and Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett.


Click on image to view larger version

jmk_julian_martin_matt_kemsleyThe campaign has been created by Sydney based ad agency JMK, which is led by former Campaign Palace staffers Julian Martin and Matt Kemsley.

Clegg said: “The announcement of the subscription pricing change is undoubtedly an inflection point. JMK’s ‘Revolution’ campaign really hits the mark, especially by making a connection with the need for all leading businesses to make bold changes: us and the great companies we analyse and report on each day.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.