After the poster wars and the battle of the DVDs, the Daily Telegraph is about to open up a new front in give-aways – with trails on the front page for free CDs of the Horrible History series.
This adroitly ticks a number of boxes. History always goes down well. It’s educational for the children. And we like getting free discs to stick in the car CD-player. Bish bosh.
The pictures at the top of the paper, around the masthead, are what gets seen on the newsagents counter – and they’re an important marker for the audience that each newspaper is trying to attract.
So alongside the Horrible Histories give-away, there’s a picture of Martha Lane Fox – very English, quite posh but overcoming adversity, successful in hi-tech business.
Meanwhile the Times fights back with a family-friendly feature on the masthead. Instead of a celeb’s face, there’s a plug for a league table of which cars are the most and least safe in a collision.
And the Daily Mail makes its masthead pitch with its latest romantic DVD give-away, The Vacillations of Poppy Carew. While the Guardian goes for a scatter-gun approach with pictures of Wayne Rooney, the History Boys film and table manners with Prue Leith.
If you looked at a paper from only a few years ago, these masthead pitches didn’t even exist. Now they’re becoming more and more prominent. On the Guardian, the actual headline begins a quarter of the way down the front page.
In the Daily Mirror, half of the front page is now absorbed into the masthead plugs – today featuring a beauty pull-out, a picture of a mother who fell from a balcony plus a lotto promotion.
Front pages or front covers? Newspaper or daily news magazine?