At a stormy meeting to resolve advertisers’ claims resulting from
the Birmingham Post and Mail’s inflated circulation debacle, the
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising rejected the paper’s offer to
go to arbitration.
Mediapolis managing director Marc Mendoza, one of the IPA’s
representatives at the meeting, accused the paper of ’obfuscation’ -
trying to cloud the issue.
Parent company Trinity Mirror is bracing itself for a potential pounds
20 million claim from advertisers following the revelation that the
Evening Mail, Sunday Mercury and the Post overstated circulation figures
over a six-year period.
Trinity Mirror intends to go ahead with the arbitration proposal and its
lawyers have written directly to IPA members outlining its plans.
These involve the setting up of a three-person panel chaired by a
The IPA was invited to nominate the other two members with the proviso
that they are independent.
The BPM is cutting ad rates on its titles by 10 per cent next year and
has frozen them for the year after. But Mendoza retorted: ’How do you
justify a rate increase when sales are 17 per cent lower?’
BPM managing director Mark Haysom said: ’We are intent on paying
compensation where it is warranted. The IPA is unlikely to be able to
help us, although it has not yet had the chance of discussing it with
its members.’ The IPA has since written to members advising them to
reject the proposals.
Haysom also claimed that 80 per cent of his larger customers were
satisfied with his proposals. But Mendoza argued that, because only 80
clients rejected the proposals, Haysom was not correct to assume the
rest were happy.
Mendoza also rejected the defence that agencies buy on readership
’We plan on readership but we buy on circulation,’ he said. ’They need
to refund their customers. Who needs judges unless your motive is to
delay and confuse?’
Haysom countered: ’We want to ensure that claims are handled in a fair
manner. It would be unreasonable for us to make compensation payments
without testing individual claims.’