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The Mercury nails its colours to the mast

After weeks of weaving unusual and innovative artistry across its columns in the build-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, KwaZulu-Natal's biggest selling morning English language daily newspaper, The Mercury, is ready to nail its colours to the mast in a BIG way!
The Mercury nails its colours to its mast(head)!
The Mercury nails its colours to its mast(head)!
Every Monday during the countdown, the title has focused on one of the 2010 competing nations either staying in Durban or based in the city with especially designed mastheads reflecting aspects from the various countries. Inside pages revealed detailed information about the countries which proved to be popular study aids at KZN schools.

During the rest of the week, the Mercury man in the masthead was dressed in the Bafana Bafana strip, with a vuvuzela in his right hand, and there was also a "Support Bafana Bafana" message as well as a superimposed Jabulani ball which carried a countdown clock.

Readers have been 'teased' with ads asking them to "Nail [their] colours" in various interesting places, with a link to Friday's edition. Today (Friday) is the super hit - the golden goal - as the Mercury unfurls its mainsail to reveal a special South African masthead with a line which reads: "We've nailed our colours to the mast ...go Bafana!"

In the lead-up to Friday’s masthead, The Mercury ‘teased’ readers to Nail [their] colours.
In the lead-up to Friday’s masthead, The Mercury ‘teased’ readers to Nail [their] colours.
On top of that, The Mercury is running a Checkers strip ad at the bottom of Pg 1, in which the retailer nails its colours to the mast and invites readers to do the same.

To the left of the ad is a South African flag with a message which invites readers to look inside the paper for their free SA bumper sticker and use it to nail their colours to whatever mast they want.

"The sticker is in all copies of The Mercury - those sold on the streets, in shops and delivered to homes and offices - because I wanted to ensure everyone benefited, but especially our subscribers," said Editor Angela Quintal.

"With Bafana playing Mexico in the opening game, we're being loud and proud about where we stand as a newspaper.

"We're imbedded in the community and we're part of what we're seeing on the streets, South Africans nailing their colours to their masts sporting the flag on their vehicles, their offices, their homes and in so many other ways unashamedly showing their patriotism," said Quintal.

Also in today's edition is a supplement with a difference.

"Many newspapers have come up with posters, wall charts or similar things so we didn't want to do the same, instead opting to produce an eight-page pull-out featuring the National Anthems of all 32 countries involved in the 2010 tournament. The supplement is sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture in KZN.

"And the front page of that supplement is also different... we've run a selection of the special country mastheads from our Pg 1 campaign, with South Africa on top, of course," said Quintal

The Mercury's bonus sport coverage also starts today with pre-publicity boasting to readers that not only will they get world class soccer coverage but there will be a veritable feast of other sports, including soccer, cricket and rugby.

"On the one hand, 'we bleed football' with a panel of sporting personalities who will rate the matches and players, and of course our soccer experts and columnists and our own soccer writers. We'll add content from our South African and international sister titles," said Quintal.

"On the other hand, our 'what a load of balls' columnists will keep non-soccer fanatics riveted with their alternative approach. Contributors include a range of Durban's talented entertainers. We've created John the Cobbler (similar to Joe the Plumber in the last United States presidential campaign) who will write from the point of view of the man-in-the-street."

For holidaying school pupils, we have a journalism intern running the daily World Football Passport Page with which includes a Grade 7's take on the tournament. Sonia Booth (wife of Bafana player, Matthew) will be giving the inside edge on the feelings of soccer players' wives and girlfriends... and even Evita Bezuidenhout and other local personalities will be giving readers the football gatvol side.

11 Jun 2010 10:12

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