London's Evening Standard relaunched recently. ('Relaunched' in this sense meaning they redesigned their front page and shoved lots of money into PR.)
They're having trouble competing with all of London's free newspapers, so understandably they need to find new ways of attracting readers. How do you make someone buy a paper when they can get one slapped into their hands for free on every corner?
Well, you could appeal to the readership's thirst for quality journalism, the latest news, top writing on fashion, style and culture, up-to-the-minute sports gossip and analysis...
Or you could do what I saw in London today...
EXCLUSIVE: NIGELLA LAWSON WRITES ON FOOTBALL
Do I even need to say anything about that? Will you allow me to take a moment to express my lung-hollowing disbelief that anybody in the world thinks that will attract someone to part with real money to buy a newspaper? And that they think it will attract enough people to justify paying Nigella Lawson whatever they're paying her?
I'm sure Nigella Lawson knows a huge amount about football and is brilliant at writing about it. That's not the point. The point is, football is not the field in which she is known to excel. So trading on her reputation by plastering her name all over newsstands is a slightly flawed strategy, no matter how good she is at writing about football.
Or am I wrong? Are there people out there who think, 'That Nigella Lawson knows how to cook a good meal and lick her fingers suggestively. I can't go down into this tube station without reading what she thinks of the off-season football news. I bet it'll raise a chortle in my laugh-starved heart. Oh, and I must ring Jamie Oliver to find out which train to catch.'