From: @BigHarto
Sent: Friday, 23 September 2011 11:30 AM
To: News Limited staff
Subject: RE: Project Darwin

TOP FUCKING SECRET

Dear Colleague,

News Limited remains a great company. That is why in a not at all belated or panicked move we have suddenly decided to change its name, logo, structure and business model.

We have painstakingly war-gamed the future of the company, looking at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats going forward.

Here is my own picture of that landscape, produced in a recent Executo-Synergisms Steam Lodge Workshop Retreat in Katoomba.

Rebranding the company as “News Australia” will address some of the biggest problems. Possibly.

We have found in exhaustive focus group testing that the words “News Limited” tend to provoke coughing fits, rashes and violent glassing attacks on group moderators. More measured feedback indicates that a broad swathe of the public view us as “cunts”. Moderators are frequently invited to seek answers to their questions “on my message bank”.

We hope the new name will help us to reconnect with middle Australia.

The rebrand will also play up the “game-as-Ned-Kelly Aussie firm” aspects of the brand profile, and play down the unfortunate “underperforming branch office of a dodgy multinational” associations which some misinformed consumers have developed.

I am confidently assured by the marketing boffins that the rebrand will also induce people to pay for things that are available elsewhere for free. Frankly, I don’t really understand how the fuck this will fly.

Nevertheless, I am the natural choice to lead the all-singing, all-dancing roadshow which will be selling the rebrand to a benighted nation. On your behalf, I will be wearing out the Hush Puppies over the length and breadth of the eastern seaboard capitals.

I will be presenting an appropriately selective version of News’s “values”. These values are strong, but they have never been articulated publicly (unfair dismissal hearings and parliamentary inquiries excepted).

We need to hose down a perception that has developed among a certain prissy, piss-ant market segment that we are “arrogant”.

My recent spearheading of the group-wide sledging of the elected prime minister shows that I am best placed to dispel this misconception.

This will be the most humble series of press conferences in my life.

Somehow all this will translate into people paying group-wide subscriptions for bundles of our content. We will, apparently, “bring to life the power of mass with connectivity of niche”.

No, me neither.

But unless you pricks have any other ideas, this is the future of News.

(Needless to say if you have any other ideas, please, for the love of God, drop me a line.)

Go fuck yourselves,

Big Harto

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW