Last Friday, at Liverpool Street Station, while other evening rags sported the usual attention-seeking headlines, thelondonpaper went for a full-page, triple decker: "GIANT MONSTERS ON TUBE."
A mocked-up page, replete with editorial byline, an image captured on a "passengers' mobile" and, inside, an enormous squished tarantula was enough to cause panic among the commuters.
It was only a microscopic caveat that informed readers it was just a promotion for ITV1's new monster-based series, Primeval.
But this was too little too late for some. "Thelondonpaper abused people's fears to increase paper circulation," one terrified arachnophobe told Diary. "I almost fainted. The note stating it was only an ad was too small for someone with a serious phobia to notice."
Professionals took a philosophical view. "Spiders are the subject of a phobia almost hardwired into sufferers," Phillip Hodson, a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy spokesman, said. "Although Orson Welles wouldn't have convinced the world Martians had landed if War of the Worlds had been littered with caveats."
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