The art of persuasion

Our beloved national broadshit The Australian recently ran a double-page self-promotional in-house advertisement featuring the work of Torres Strait Islander artist Alick Tipoti. (main picture)

The title of Tipoti’s work translates in English as All Connected, and the ad went great lengths to draw a link between the idea of being connected and the output of News Corp Australia.

The ad appeared to be unrelated to anything other than building News Corp’s public image.

The ad copy told readers about the importance of stories, of how stories “capture centuries in sentences, bond families, communities and cultures” and how “our continent’s stories connect the first encounters between cultures to the nation we are now, and the one we will become”.

It  went on to shamelessly appropriate Tipoti’s artwork by saying it “captures New Corp Australia’s passion for our nation’s stories and the people at the centre of them”.

Now the ad was for News Corp Australia, not just The Australian, so we presume it was designed to persuade readers to think of the totality of the media group’s output including the many columns by columnist Andrew Bolt and others in its metro turdbloids and on its after dark shows on Sky News that regularly lambast stories about First Nations and the people at the centre of them.

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Speaking of News Corp Australia we think a double-page spread in a recent edition of its Townsville Bulletin says a lot about the state of the surviving hardcopy regional dailies published by Rupert’s outfit.

It’s two full pages consumed by a huge puff piece promoting the start of broadcasting into regional Queensland by the News Corp-owned Sky News with a story unashamedly badged as “news” on one of Sky’s many rabid right-wingers Peta Credlin. (pictured)

Under that is a free ad for a charity which papers will run when they can’t sell space to paying customers and the opposite full page begs advertisers to support the paper.

Says it all we think.

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The cash-strapped state of Rupert’s surviving few hard-copy dailies was underlined by the reappearance of advertising features in his Brisbane turdbloid The Courier-Mail about the state government’s big multi-billion-dollar Cross-River Rail infrastructure project to build a new underground commuter rail link in Brisbane.

The first of what we presume may be several in a weekly series (pictured) ran across two pages and each contained a story about the project supported by quarter-page state government advertisement linked to some aspect of Cross-River Rail.

In May last year The Bug noted a series of similar advertorials about the project in The Courier-Mail and News Corp’s other turdbloid in south-east Queensland, the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Back then the Gold Coast paper chose to badge the stories clearly as “news” while the Courier used a strap bearing the neutral description “Future SEQ”.

This time around the ad-based feature has so far not appeared in the Gold Coast paper but the Courier has come up with the description “content partnership” to describe the double-page paid feature.

In plain speaking: advertorial. Just say it, we say.