As a Mock(ing) Media Brand, is The Onion Getting a Raw Deal?


Who doesn’t want to prove they have a sense of humor? The Onion is busy leveraging that truth to its advantage by bringing together an eclectic collection of celebrity endorsers as the Chicago-based satire brand continues its inevitably quixotic quest for its first Pulitzer Prize.

Proving they’ve got a sense of humor too, Tom Hanks, Arianna Huffington, Ricky Gervais and Glenn Beck are just a few of the celebs who have taped testimonials touting The Onion to the Pulitzer prize board, citing the satirical newspaper and website as a towering journalistic enterprise that has been denied the profession’s highest award.[more]

The testimonials are all part a mock campaign — Americans for Fairness in Awarding Journalism Prizes — to celebrate The Onion’s 1,000th issue.

The campaign, which is being promoted with a Twitter hashtag, #onionpulitzer, has “definitely reinforced the humor, relevance and currency of our brand,” Steve Hannah, CEO of The Onion (aka “America’s Finest News Source”) told brandchannel. “And it has created a vehicle for celebrity participation in our content.”

In one of the latest spots, for example, Beck “reveals” that he started as a “fashion reporter for the Onion News Network.” He explains that he gets angry at “injustice” and says that “the greatest injustice of all” is that The Onion has been denied any Pulitzer.

Naturally, Hannah said, such bits and lots of media coverage of the campaign have “provided an immense amount of positive PR” for his newspaper.

“And,” he added, the celebrity testimonials and the overall campaign have “reminded people once again that life is not fair. If it were, The Onion would have had a Pulitzer long ago.”

Some of the celebrity endorsements (click here to watch more):