THE SPECTATOR: AN EXPERT’S VIEW: Subtle makeovers prove a success for the outspoken title, Penny Furniss writes

Anyone want a fight? The Spectator is the place to find one. And I’m not talking about the sort of choreographed scrap that draws the mink coat and mobile phone brigade to the ringside. These guys are heavyweights and the wounds they inflict aren’t susceptible to a bit of old needle and thread.

Anyone want a fight? The Spectator is the place to find one. And

I’m not talking about the sort of choreographed scrap that draws the

mink coat and mobile phone brigade to the ringside. These guys are

heavyweights and the wounds they inflict aren’t susceptible to a bit of

old needle and thread.



The other week someone tried to land a punch on Jeremy Paxman. A

response was swift and deadly. Remember Hamilton versus Bell? Or Aitken

versus Rusbridger? On each occasion, Spectator readers found themselves

with the best seats in the house.



It’s partly the witnessing of these semi-private bouts (which derive

from The Spectator’s exceptional ability to attract contributors) and

partly the courage of the views that compel. Such writers’ impulse is to

fly in the face of the conventional, accepted view.



And if you are in the business of understanding and, more particularly,

predicting public opinion, this is a must-read publication.



The Spectator has committed and loyal readers. Perfect for advertisers

but a disadvantage if you want to update a design inherited from the

last editor but one.



So what we have here is the sort of change-by-stealth operation deployed

by The Telegraph. The effect of The Spectator’s own stealthy changes -

smart colour headlines, the occasional illustration - is effortlessly

greater than the sum of the parts.



For this sort of access to that most desirable of target markets -

opinion formers and AB groups with great stashes of disposable income

(15 per cent of readers earn more than pounds 100,000) - the ad rates

are meagre. The Spectator is an unmissable bargain.



Penny Furniss is the co-founder of the media relations consultancy,

Sputnik Communications.



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