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Three Little Pigs FINAL

The new Guardian long form TV commercial “Three Little Pigs” is currently running on Channel 4 … and on YouTube, the Guardian website, in cinemas and no doubt on a smartphone near you. It’s a worthy successor to “Points of View“, the last campaign they ran way back in the late 1980s, and as with PoV it is an intelligent and ambitious piece of communication.

A couple of commentators have wondered what is its purpose, why the ad doesn’t have the obvious call to action that most media commercials have – “buy it tomorrow”, “collect the vouchers”, “special edition” etc. Clearly this is because it’s a brand ad – it’s reminding existing buyers why they buy the paper and non-readers why they should consider buying it.

In talking to what the publisher calls the paper’s operating system “open journalism“, it sketches out a much bigger point – not just the style of journalism it holds dear but a new agenda of interaction with readers, other journalists, bloggers, tweeters. The idea that it doesn’t just want to passively engage you as a reader but to actively engage and involve you in what is happening in the world. Suggesting that you have a role to play – perhaps even a responsibility to engage and have your say.

What surprises me most is the irony of using that most traditional of media – the TV commercial – to kick off the debate that news is different in the age of social media.

This article was originally posted on the CRICKET blog: 26 March 2012