M&C Saatchi ads back major Mirror relaunch

Mirror Group Newspapers is backing the relaunch of its flagship daily paper with a TV drive through newly reappointed M&C Saatchi.

The campaign follows the dropping of The Mirror's red-top branding and a return to the Daily Mirror masthead for the first time since 1997. Both changes came into force on Tuesday with a Daily Mirror front page featuring Osama Bin Laden and the campaign's tagline "Think again".

Despite the rebranding of the daily paper, the TV ads continue to refer to "The Mirror

in a bid to establish an umbrella brand covering the Sunday paper and various M magazine supplements. The ten-second spots seek to establish a creative framework that can be used to present the paper's reporting on both serious and salacious items.

"We've got the zeitgeist and we want to keep the momentum going,

the editor, Piers Morgan, said. "This is a powerful mix with great telly advertising playing to the heart of the paper."

Each ad opens with a standard piece of footage and a voiceover intoning a standard interpretation of it. Half the screen is then torn away to reveal a contrasting image as the narrator presents an alternative viewpoint.

The top half of Bin Laden's face is replaced by a still of an Afghan child as the voiceover asks whose lives are really threatened by allied military action. A British bulldog is given the head of a poodle as the voiceover asks how George Bush views the UK.

One spot highlights the Daily Mirror's gossip columnists, the 3am Girls, who have been increasingly hyped in recent weeks. Footage of a couple in bed is ripped in two to reveal four cavorting pairs of legs as the narrator discusses celebrities' love lives.

The ads were written by James Lowther and Damian Keene and art directed by Matt Eastwood and Adam Mandelstrom. They were directed by Dylan Kendall through Pink. Media planning and buying is by Zenith.

The campaign is the paper's most high-profile ad push since 1997, when the Daily Mirror branding was dropped amid a revamp that led to public recriminations between Morgan and the veteran reporter John Pilger.

Pilger has returned to the paper on a permanent basis after penning several front-page Mirror pieces questioning the Government's support for George Bush's war on terror. The relaunch also sees the arrival of Miranda Sawyer, Christopher Hitchens and the Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland.

The paper's Cassandra column, once famously sued by Liberace, returns to the daily paper. Thursdays are given a new M-Health section. A redesigned Friday edition will feature an entertainment pullout, The Ticket, and the Saturday paper gains new sections, including a racing supplement, The Winner.

The Sunday Mirror this weekend launches a 72-page celebrity glossy, M-Celebs, intended to raise the paper's appeal to female readers.

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