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The Guardian Reimagines The Three Little Pigs In the Age of Open Media

Spotlighting its open journalism policy, The Guardian releases a new ad wherein the Three Little Pigs provides a framework for exploring the nature of news today.

Pretty much every fable and fairy tale we were told as children would collapse like a souffle beneath the harsh light of today’s media environment. In its latest ad, The Guardian makes this very point to fantastic effect, vividly illustrating how its open journalism approach enables coverage from every angle and every platform.

The spot, from agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and A-List director Ringan Ledwidge, begins with a cauldron boiling over a fireplace, shaking from within–the death knell, it turns out, of the Big Bad Wolf. Soon we are plunged into the events of the Three Little Pigs story as they unfold, as well as the simultaneous media coverage. Although unambiguously set in present day, the spot cleverly weaves in the language of the fairy tale, as when a SWAT team member at the crime scene announces, “Little pig, little pig, let us in. It’s the police.” It’s a modern, live-action version of what the Shrek movies originally set out to do.

The ad also has a message, though. As details of the Three Little Pigs‘ tale emerge, we see the varying ways that Guardian consumers learn them (in the print edition, on the website, and on social media platforms), as well as the rapid speed at which stories can change with 24/7 coverage. What starts out as a meditation on “the gray area of homeowners’ rights” soon changes when a reporter brings up a classic loophole from the fairy tale–not even the healthiest wolf could huff and puff a house to the ground.

Another facet of open news that the ad demonstrates is the increasingly interactive nature of news today, where readers reflect their opinions right back through Twitter. People following along online start off tweeting messages of support such as “You’ve got every right to defend your property”, and more amusingly, “Keep your chinny chin chins up, fellas.”

The campaign features TV, cinema, outdoor, press and a 24-hour takeover of the U.K. YouTube homepage. The campaign tag line, “The Whole Picture” was first used in Guardian ads in 1986.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.

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