The rolling coverage of the News of the World affair on both the Guardian and the Telegraph gave a first indication of what could be a disturbing new development for News International - a flight of advertising revenue from the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times.
Both papers reported that car manufacturer Renault has just done this.
According to trade journal Marketing Week Renault will discontinue its advertising with The Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times “until further notice”.
In a statement, Renault said: “Renault acknowledges the concerns raised regarding the allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World. Is a result of the seriousness of the allegations, we can confirm that Renault has reviewed its media advertising plans. We have decided to cease advertising in News International publications until further notice.”
Marketing Week noted that Renault spent £266,000 advertising in the News of the World from January to May 2011. There is no indication of the value of advertising in the other News International papers.
It was another car manufacturer Ford that led the flight of advertisers from the News of the World. Renault's act may be a one-off or it could presage more bad news for what is a highly toxic brand.