It appears The Sun's response to mounting criticism of Page 3 has been an attempt today to position its daily serving of topless models as a force for good, campaigning for women's health.
The paper has partnered with breast cancer charity Coppafeel and every Tuesday for the next six months The Sun will be publicising a "Check 'Em Tuesday" campaign, encouraging women to check their breasts.
A statement on the Coppafeel website says:
"This partnership gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of breast cancer among a huge new audience. As a small charity, this is a big deal and an extremely exciting moment in time for us."
The Sun's editor David Dinsmore, explained:
"Twelve thousand women die of breast cancer every year — mothers, sisters and daughters — which makes it a big issue for our readers, and The Sun is all about big issues. Through the iconic power of Page 3 I hope all our readers will check 'em."
Although there is no doubt the work of Coppafeel is important and deserving of a prominent platform, critics have been quick to point out that the campaign appears to be a fairly cynical move by The Sun, aimed at defending Page 3:
But it should also be said there are some who have not questioned The Sun's motives and chosen instead to applaud the campaign for raising awareness of an important issue. One Twitter user posted "Page 3 doesn't bother me and anything that raises awareness about breast cancer has to be good!" while seasoned PR man Mark Borkowski called it an "outstanding awareness campaign".
Borkowski makes a fair point. The campaign has certainly achieved a high level of awareness, even if many publicising it don't approve of the tactics or the underlying motive.