Metro Fail

As we all know it’s a devastating time for Japan right now. I first heard about the apocalyptic earthquake and tsunami that hit the country via twitter – after investigating the hashtag ‘#prayforjapan’.  The next day on the news, the birds-eye videos of massive waves destroying everything in their path shocked me – and I’m not easliy shocked…

At times like this social media really comes into play – for example with celebrities tweeting to millions of followers to donate. On the flip side many rumours have occurred that there have been hoax charities floating around twitter.

But this morning really shocked me. As I flicked through the first ten pages of the Metro which all covered the current situation with Japan, I was also overwhelmed by numerous adverts of the Japanese Pokémon franchise. The tagline being ‘Pokémon Everywhere: Over 150 new Pokémon have arrived in the UK’

Perhaps this is just a highly unfortunate coincidence. But some may also find it very bad taste that the Metro let this pairing go to print.


    • Martin Hodge
    • March 15th, 2011

    I am sorry but this isn’t how print works. These adverts would have been booked well in advance of the earthquake occurring and the advertiser would not have known the editorial content of this issue – they weren’t to know the first ten pages would have been dedicated to the same story.

    The Pokemon Everywhere campaign has actually been worked on for three months now and is rolling out across Europe. You’ll see this posters on the Tube on bus stops and Taxi sides. It is not a cheap ploy to capitalise on the earthquake.

    I can guarantee the advertiser would have been disappointed that its ads are being associated with such a disaster. But unfortunately you cannot predict the news.

    Metro is an ad-led publication. Without ads they would not be able to exist.

    • BillBatts
    • March 15th, 2011

    Sorry, but you’ve spectacularly missed the mark here. The Metro is a ‘free’ newspaper, as in it is free to readers as it is paid for by advertising. These Pokémon ads would have been booked weeks, maybe even months ago by Nintendo’s media buyers or agencies. The fact that they happen to have appeared at the same time a natural disaster in Japan is an unfortunate and somewhat cruel coincidence.

    Metro are clearly not in a position to pull these ads; you can see how much real estate they take up in the paper, and from that one can only speculate on how much funding has come as a result of them.

    The fact that you would point a finger at the editor’s morals shows a breath taking lack of understanding of how media actually works.

  1. Yeah. How dare Japanese companies advertise Japanese products made in Japan? And remember all those American products advertised after 9/11? That was inexcusable too.

  2. Interesting, comments thank you for the feedback in regards to the Metro story. In this blog post we were simply highlighting the fact that these adverts were placed alongside the stories about the crisis in Japan and we were looking to open up a debate about whether this ‘coincidence’ was bad taste or not. This does not mean that we have a lack of understanding of how the media works, as some of these responses have implied; our specialist knowledge is in Public Relations and Online Media which have different practices to advertising in print.

    This was not intended as an attack towards the Metro newspaper nor Nintendo as we are aware this is something that would have been planned before the disaster in Japan, however, as was stated, we thought this spread was something worth debating as it was quite an interesting situation that highlights and draws out questions as to how print media works.

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