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Simon Dumenco

Watch The Guardian's Brilliant TV Spot Dissecting the Social-Media-Powered News Cycle

One of the World's Great Newspapers Covers Controversy Around The Big Bad Wolf (No, Not Rupert Murdoch, at Least This Time)

By Published on . 4

This delightful spot -- or "advert" in British parlance -- is getting widely shared in the U.K. right now. Broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 for the first time Thursday night, London time, the two-minute commercial is part of what the paper says is its "first major brand positioning TV ad for more than 25 years" and part of a larger campaign promoting the paper's concept of "open journalism." It takes on the tale of the Three Little Pigs and imagines how the Guardian would cover the story in print and online as social-media chatter threatens to overtake the narrative.

When you see the Guardian headline "Big Bad Wolf boiled alive" in the opening seconds of the spot, you'll be forgiven if Rupert Murdoch immediately springs to mind. Because the Guardian, of course, is the inky institution that has done the most to expose the excesses of News Corp., the company run by the Big Bad Wolf of journalism -- and Rupert does sort of seem like he's being boiled alive right now. (Or at least his his son James is .) But no! The Big Bad Wolf here is just that .

In a post on his paper's website, Guardian Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger writes, "Open is our operating system, a way of doing things that is based on a belief in the open exchange of information, ideas and opinions and its power to bring about change. The campaign is designed to bring that philosophy to life for new and existing readers."

The agency behind the spot is Bartle Bogle Hegarty and the director is Ringan Ledwidge. The rest of the campaign will include outdoor, cinema pre-roll, additional broadcast (including a 60-second version of the spot) and print ads in the The Guardian, Grazia, Time Out and The Big Issue.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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