Last Thursday Crikey received a scintillating leaked email purportedly written by the Chief of Staff of Advertiser Newspapers. Scintillating, that is, if you find the inner machinations of the Adelaide Advertiser interesting. And providing you bought the veracity of the email in the first place. We didn’t.

So we ran this item in media briefs:

Stunt or genuine concern? There’s nothing like a good leak to whip up some extra publicity. Take this email from the Chief of Staff of Adelaide’s Sunday Mail:

From: ChiefofStaff
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 7:39 AM
Subject: Urgent editorial decision required on South Australia’s 50 Most Powerful People Magazine for this Sunday


Need to talk to you urgently — we’ve got a few problems with the magazine for this Sunday’s paper. Someone has leaked out a few of the names who are on the list – we might be facing a possible court injunction from a politician. Also I’ve received a call from a major Adelaide real estate agent who is furious about not being included – he’s also a major advertiser with us.

It will be difficult to pull the mag now as marketing has started. I’ve put a call into our lawyers re what their advice is.

By the way, I’ve already received a call from one radio station.

If I was you I’d be turning off your mobile on Sunday.

Please call me urgently.



Half an hour later …

From: ChiefofStaff

To: undisclosed-recipients:

Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 8:12 AM

Subject: Recall: Urgent editorial decision required on South Australia’s 50 Most Powerful People Magazine for this Sunday

Our suspicions suitably aroused, Crikey emailed the mysterious ChiefofStaff to ask whether the mail was a genuine concerned communication or a promotional device.

No word from the head of Adelaide Newspapers so far, but yesterday we did receive a reply from the Marketing Director: 

From: Demaria, Dan
Sent: Monday, 26 May 2008 3:41 PM
To: Jonathan Green
Subject: South Australia’s 50 Most Powerful People Marketing Campaign

Hi Jonathan,

I’m replying on behalf of your email – apologies for the delay as we didn’t pick up your note until today.

This email was, in fact, part of an integrated marketing campaign which included both traditional and non-traditional media channels.

Besides the email you received, other elements included:

Press advertising which ran in The Advertiser and Sunday Mail
Web banner on our home page
Radio advertising on major metro Adelaide radio stations
“Confidential” Memo – a number of fake “confidential” memos were placed in blank envelopes marked “Private & Confidential” and placed strategic locations around the Adelaide CBD at lunchtime on the Thursday prior

We felt this would be an innovative, yet cost efficient way of promoting the “South Australia’s 50 Most Powerful People” magazine which appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Mail (SA). We received a good response from the campaign with a number of phone calls and emails.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any further details.



Dan Demaria
Marketing Director
Advertiser Newspapers Pty Limited

We don’t know much about marketing, so Crikey presumes that a fake email from the company’s Chief of Staff lands under the terms “integrated” and “non traditional media channels.”

We also presume that lying about an upcoming story creating mythical outraged real estate agents comes under the definition of “innovative”.

“Cost effective” strategies aside, is fabricating and distributing fake confidential memos really a good look for a newspaper company?

We didn’t think so. But maybe we’re being too “traditional.”

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