Former London Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley has described the paper’s new “Sorry” advertising campaign as “utterly humiliating” for staff.
Wadley, who edited the Standard from 2002 until its sale to Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev earlier this year, hit out at the billboard campaign which apologises for “taking [readers] for granted” and being “predictable”.
Wadley told the Guardian: “London is laughing at this ludicrous campaign. Saying sorry for the past smacks of a Soviet courtroom ‘confession’.
“Sorry has all the hallmarks of a KGB-style smear campaign. It denigrates the judgment of 500,000 loyal readers who have been buying the paper in recent years.
“And, according to the dozens of emails I have received, it is utterly humiliating for the staff and contributors. They are in despair.”
This weekend, the “sorry” ads turned into “we promise” ads, pledging a number of values in the newly relaunched Standard, including fairness, political independence and more good news.
The Standard’s new editor Geordie Greig, whose relaunched paper hits the newsstands this lunchtime, defended the campaign.
“The Evening Standard had lost touch with Londoners,” he told the Guardian. “It was negative, doom-laden, narrow, predictable, unsurprising. It wasn’t reflecting the optimism of the greatest city in the world.”