There are few brands in any category that have reached the heights and sunk to the extreme depths as The Sun has over the past 50 years. The best media brands are those that truly understand their audiences. By that definition, there are four newspaper brands that truly stand out: The Sun, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. At its very best, The Sun blazed the way for its readers, reflecting their values, interests and motivations. Editorially, there were moments when it captured the majority mood of the nation with fantastic headlines ("Gotcha", "Turnip", "Up Yours Delors"), serious journalism and exemplary sports coverage. It claimed it could swing general elections. Even that was almost, if not entirely, credible. At its worst it gave us the Hillsborough coverage, Page 3 and the legal and ethical stink of the phone-hacking scandal. Commercially, The Sun could be very innovative. The combination of cover-price manipulation and brilliant promotions ensured the paper’s circulation remained high. The Sun remains an important fixture of the British psyche. Whether it can maintain its relevance over the next 50 years will depend on its ability to manage the digital arena – and, just as importantly, keep its own "self" in check.
Marc Sands is the former marketing director of Guardian News & Media