Opinion: Newspapers Should Become Digital Marketing Agencies


This guest post is written by Lloyd W. Armbrust, CEO of OwnLocal.

Newspapers need more money. Print subscriptions are in decline. Print ad revenues have fallen precipitously. Online advertising revenues are growing, but not nearly fast enough. There's an unmistakable sense of despair and hopelessness surrounding most print publications. Everywhere, newspaper publishers and ad directors ask the same question: "What do I do?"

Luckily, there's an answer.

The future of newspapers sits at the intersection between content and online services. In other words, it looks like a Newspaper plus a Digital Marketing Agency.

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by Steve Hall    Nov- 8-11    
Topic: Newspaper, Opinion

Providence Journal Fights For Truth in Rhode Island


What good is a newspaper these days? Well, according to the Providence Journal, it's pretty much the only thing regular consumers have any more when it comes to the truth. As this new commercial for the paper informs, big companies have 597 lobbyists at the Rhode Island State House. Who does the average consumer have to represent them? A Providence Journal staff writer who, as the ad states, is all about providing and fighting for the truth.

Unavoidable biases aside, we like this approach. After all, the good 'ol newspaper doesn't have much to hang its hat on any more.

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by Steve Hall    Oct-31-11    
Topic: Commercials, Newspaper

Pot Not Legal in Iowa But PWC Says Grow Your Own


Here's some hilarity for the day. On October 19, The Daily Iowan published a front page story with the headline, "Despite poll, legal pot not near" along with the image of a bong. Innocent enough. Well, that is until the advertising department inadvertently got involved and slapped one of those sticker ads on the front page. According to Daily Iowan Editor, the newspaper only sells a couple of the stickers each year but this particular sticker from PWC read, "Grow your own way" lending a bit of unintentional hilarity to the front page story. Thanks for the tip @CampanaroCA.

by Steve Hall    Oct-26-11    
Topic: Newspaper, Strange

Rupert Murdoch Places 'We Are Sorry' Ad


Following the snooping scandal that included allegations Rupert Murdoch's News of the World had engaged in wiretapping of many UK residents including the royal family, Murdoch has placed an apology ad in UK newspapers.

The ad reads, "The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account. It failed when it came to itself. We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred. We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected. We regret not acting faster to sort things out. I realise that simply apologising is not enough. Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this.
In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us."

by Steve Hall    Jul-15-11    
Topic: Newspaper

Father's Day Brings Yet Another Contextual Goof


We love a good contextual advertising screw up. We've seen more serious bloopers than this one but the placement of a Father's Day ad within a long article about domestic abuse probably isn't the best placement The Mirror could have chosen for this ad.

by Steve Hall    Jun-15-11    
Topic: Newspaper

Redhook Gets Its Package Shortened


Red Hook is out with a new billboard, print and online campaign to tout its new shortneck bottles and give the bottle some 'tude. Created by Frank Unlimited, campaign headlines include, "Redhook is ok with you staring at his new package," "Redhook likes his new label, but he'd rather go commando," "Redhook looks forward to the whole spanking thing on his birthday" and "Redhook isn't the type to use 'party' as a verb. This year he'll make an exception."

The bi-coastal campaign includes thirteen different headlines. In the Pacific Northwest, they will appear in alternative papers including The Stranger, Seattle Gay News, Seattle Weekly; on urban and highway 14' x 48' and 20' x 60' billboards, and wallscapes; and on websites (eight banners only) including ESPN, Yelp, SeattleTimes, SeattlePI, Pandora. In New England, print placements are still to be determined, as are planned radio spots and P-O-P and event marketing.

by Steve Hall    May- 6-11    
Topic: Newspaper, Online, Outdoor

Alzheimer's Ad Illustrates Zero Percent Survival Rate


Earlier this month, the Alzheimer's Association ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal with the headline, "We'd show an Alzheimer's survivor here, if there were one" and the copy, "0% survival. 6% the funding of cancer. 100% insane."

It's a powerful message and a clever concept. And an advocacy group for Lou Gehrig's Disease wonders where its powerful ad is.

by Steve Hall    Nov-29-10    
Topic: Cause, Newspaper

Globe and Mail Redefines Itself. And Canada Along the Way


OK so why is it when we view this over-serious woman on a bicycle prattling on and on about how great Canada is, the only thing we want to do is reach out and unzip her sweatshirt? OK, yea,. it's out trademarked perversion. We all know that but this sounds like a State of the Union speech.

The woman asks us not to focus on current definitions of Canada but to look forward to things that haven't yet been done that will, one assumes, create a new definition of Canada. Oh, and by the way, the Globe and Mail will be there to help. Well, as long as they can get us to not focus on the death of the newspaper but on some news entity not yet invented.

Well, perhaps it just got invented today., Because today, October 1, is the day the Globe and Mail unveils a new look and direction.

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by Steve Hall    Oct- 1-10    
Topic: Newspaper, Video

LA Times Angers Readers With Front Page Ad, Offers Lame Defense


On Wednesday the LA Times ran a full page ad on the front page of the newspaper for Law & Order: Los Angeles. While a wrap, the ad mimicked the actual paper's front page including the masthead and carried the headline, "Media Icon Hit by Crime Wave." To say the least, readers were miffed. One reader, Jesse Taylor, told ABC News, "I think it's irresponsible journalism but if their goal is to just shock then they did their job."

USC Creative Media Professor Doe Mayer derided the paper and NBC for the ad saying, "I think they've said something by what they've done. I think their actions speak far louder than any words that they can say. They've said that the commercialism of this, the financial implications of this are more important than what journalism should mean in our society"

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by Steve Hall    Oct- 1-10    
Topic: Newspaper

Smart Car Asks Belgians to Choose Black or White Clan


Maybe there isn't anything akin to the KKK in Belgium or maybe their whole outlook on race isn't so sensitive that they have to over analyze every last piece of creative before it goes out the door. Which is possibly why this Smart Car newspaper ad slid out the door without a " Wait, what?"

A newspaper ad taking the form of two adjacent columns asks readers to become a member of the white clan or a member of the black clan.

And as if to make some sort of riff on Ford Model T's classic color choice scenario ("you can have a car painted any color you want so long as it is black"), the copy reads, "white or black is probably the only question you still have."

The campaign offers a similar choice on a website as well.

Is this really a big deal or a creative means to offer up color choice?

by Steve Hall    Sep-28-10    
Topic: Newspaper