Monday, March 07, 2011

USAT | Why Big Al is probably having a bad hair day

Today's new nameplate . . .

. . . compared to the long-used former one:

I don't know when USA Today first proclaimed itself "No. 1 in the USA" below its front page nameplate; oddly, the paper's own timeline of major events doesn't supply a date.

Ad Age says USAT was tops in circulation starting in September 1999, a reign that ended 10 years later, when The Wall Street Journal surged ahead on the strength of its many thousands of online subscribers.

Even so, Publisher Dave Hunke understandably didn't want to walk away empty handed that October 2009. In a statement, he observed that USAT was still the leader in print circulation: "We are proud to remain America’s number one choice in a daily print newspaper."

Indeed, on Page One, USAT continued to claim not one, but two, titles: "No. 1" and "The Nation's Newspaper.'' Neither referenced circulation or audience, Anonymous@2:06 p.m. observed: "As such, it's puffery and could be used until the end of time. Kind of like the statement, 'Dubow and Martore are the No. 1 leaders in the industry.'"

Whatever the distinction, it ended this morning: USAT finally dropped "No. 1" from its nameplate in favor of the Corporate-mandated "A Gannett Company." It's part of today's launch of Gannett's first corporate branding campaign.

Still, I can't help thinking: Somewhere in a giant log cabin in Cocoa Beach, Fla., an 86-year-old retired Gannett CEO is hopping mad.

[Images: Newseum]


  1. When USAT first started - & for the first few years, before the "No. 1 in the USA" thing - the tagline under the logo read "Published by Gannett" & Gannett appeared prominently on the uprights on all of the blue & white vending machines.


  2. USA Today 2000: "We are proud to remain America’s number one choice in a daily print newspaper."

    Studebaker 1900: "We are proud to remain America’s number one choice in horse-drawn wagons."


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