BBH produces a great Guardian ad – will it lead to a great future for the paper’s ‘open journalism?’

‘The Three Little Pigs.’ directed by Ringan Ledwidge, is the best piece of advertising to come out of BBH in a very long time.

More to the point, it’s also the best piece of advertising to come out of The Guardian, whose bar in these matters is very high.

Editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, explaining the ad’s rationale, makes reference to the title’s “first major brand positioning TV ad for more than 25 years.” That comment, and The Three Little Pigs’ endline – ‘The Whole Picture’ – are informal tributes to another mould-breaking ad of its time: Boase Massimi Pollitt’s 1986 ‘Points of View,’ directed by Paul Weiland.

The verities of professional journalism do not change over the years: accuracy, balance, perspective and meticulous checking of the background facts being high among them. But, my word, hasn’t the challenge of achieving them become incomparably tougher in the intervening quarter century?

Then, journalists only had to battle with their rivals, their editors, their lawyers (and occasionally their consciences) to be the first to stand up often uncomfortable truths. Now, they must also contend with an army of citizen bloggers and social media aficionados determined, moment by moment, to put their own definitive stamp upon the great issues of the day.

26 years ago, The Guardian’s world consisted of a relatively comfortable tripartite perspective. Now, The Whole Picture is a ceaseless 24/7 kaleidoscope, made possible by near universal access to the internet. How to surf this surge of information, while retaining a sense of detachment and independent judgement?

Like it or not, this is the brave new world journalism must embrace, a world Rusbridger dubs “open journalism” in his repositioning statement. “People are taking part in journalism, rather than being passive recipients. That’s a mindset that says journalists are not the only experts in the world, that they can’t give an adequate account of subjects, issues, the world around them, unless they enlist others,” he says.

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advertising Alan Rusbridger bbh Paul Weiland Stuart Smith the guardian

About Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith is one of the most incisive and knowledgeable commentators on global marketing. He was a long-time editor of Marketing Week during the period when it was the UK’s leading marketing, media and advertising specialist publication. Visit Stuart Smith Blog.

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