Desmond to back Express with £50m marketing push

LONDON - Richard Desmond is to invest £50m in promoting the titles in his Express Newspapers stable next year, as he looks to take on rivals the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror.

According to reports, the campaign will include television advertising, promotions and another foray into price cutting, a tactic successfully used in boosting the circulation of The Sun over its tabloid rival the Mirror.

Desmond will use the cash to promote all four of his national newspaper titles, the Daily Express, the Sunday Express, the Daily Star and the recently launched Daily Star on Sunday.

News of the marketing drive comes as Desmond is reported to be launching a new London evening newspaper, The Evening Mail, with some media pundits suggesting it is a strategic move designed to divert the attention of Associated Press away from the Daily Mail to its London title the Evening Standard.

The Daily Express lags considerably behind its mid-market rival with a circulation of 989,874, compared with the Mail's figure of 2,436,889 for October 2002.

Express Newspapers poached Roland Agambar from News International in March of this year to head its marketing operation. The last major advertising campaign run by Express Newspapers was for the launch of the Daily Star on Sunday in September. It spent £2.5m on a television and outdoor campaign, created in-house, telling potential readers "Something's coming".

Express Newspapers declined to comment on reports of its marketing plans.

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