It comes as no surprise to hear that all the fanfare and foofaraw that accompanied the Ottawa Petfinder relaunch a couple of months ago has come to naught.
As reported in Franks passim, the Postmedia piffle sheet pumped well over a million dollars into its makeover, replete with ad slogans like, “Trending since 1845. Reimagined for today,” and featuring that retro hipster prat in a top hat, gazing smugly from buses, billboards and telephone poles throughout the city.
The makeover, a template that will roll out through the entire Postmedia chain over the coming months, was meant to boost circulation/revenue. Instead, it’s been an unmitigated disaster. The paper today has fewer subscribers than when it started, say Citizen insiders.
Rather than sell the idea the Petfinder had changed dramatically, the promotion crusade simply confirmed the impression the product is going the way of the wooly mammoth, on a campaign of desperation.
Hundreds of subscribers bailed, amid complaints the redesign looked like a dog’s breakfast of pastel post-it notes and news buried amid sections named “You.”
Granted, many thousands stayed with the paper, but quit the $30 home delivery in favour of the $10 digital (for which advertisers pay significantly less).
The biggest joke has been the vaunted four-platform strategy. The iPad app, for instance, can’t be downloaded by older tablets, and is such a pain that barely a thousand subscribers bother using it.
Meanwhile, as circulation for the Saturday paper slips below 75,000, Petfinder hacks talk openly of the paper shutting down.
In a sane corporation, a disastrous product flop would prompt the brain trust to pull it off the market, or at the very least, reverse course.
But at Postmedia, COO Wayne Parrish has ordered full steam ahead, damn the readers, wtf do they know?
Poor Wayne. The relaunch is his baby and he’s stuck with it. He can’t possibly admit he’s got another Windows 7 on his hands, so he’s going to inflict the Citizen design woofer on the Calgary Herald and Montreal Gazette next month.
Of course, in Postmedia land, executive cock-ups are the norm.
In fact, they go handsomely rewarded.
Consider that after the last quarter of 2013, in which Postmedia revenues fell 8.4 per cent, its board of directors expressed their appreciation of president Paul Godfrey’s performance with a 50% raise in compensation to $1.7 million.
And they say there’s no money in media.