There’s no such thing as bad publicity… right? The Daily Mail doesn’t seem to think so. In fact, it seems that every other day Twitter explodes with furious comments about the Daily Mail’s latest controversial rant, the latest of which being Melanie Philips’s abhorrent and rather absurd diatribe about “the gay agenda” taking over society and brainwashing our children.
The editors of the Daily Mail surely realise that by publishing gaspingly controversial articles, they will cause a massive uproar. So why, when articles such as Liz Jones’s insensitive ramblings about Joanna Yeates’s final movements and Jan Moir’s sickening analysis of Stephen Gately’s death cause so much public hurt, do the Daily Mail allow their writers a carte blanche to advocate the most unpalatable of views?
The answer is simple: the Daily Mail has staggeringly high – in fact, the highest online readership of any newspaper in the country. I overheard somebody saying this is a sad reflection on the direction society’s going, but actually, I don’t believe that the high readership figures are solely bolstered by a sympathetic public.
I, along with many of my socially-aware friends, regularly read the most outrageous Daily Mail columns. Do I agree with them? No. Honestly, I read about them on Twitter and want to see what all the fuss is about. When I read about how poor Charlotte Metcalf will have to shop at Asda instead of Harrods for Christmas – and post it on my Facebook – it’s not because I’m about to set up a relief fund for this tragically deprived woman. It’s because I’m outraged at the audacity that somebody could publish such out of touch and ignorant views and want to share that outrage with likeminded friends. The only problem is, the more outraged we all are, the more hits the Daily Mail website gets!
In fact, you’re probably reading the hyperlinked articles now, shaking your head in disbelief and wondering who reads this tripe – guess what? You do!
So, as you’ve guessed, I’m not exactly clamouring for a Daily Mail subscription and I’m by no means a fan – but I can’t help but admire the chutzpah behind its publicity tactics. If the ultimate goal of PR is to increase awareness, increase mentions and eventually drive more people to your product, then the Daily Mail has one of the best PR strategies out there – even if it has the nation baying for blood.