This week the Vancouver Sun (along with other Canadian newspapers) is running a series called ‘The Enduring Newspaper’. Today’s piece was entitled “Ad buyer remains bullish on newspapers”. It’s an encomium on the wisdom of advertising in newspapers. The article quotes the unlikely-named Sunni Boot, CEO of ZenithOptimedia Canada, whose company undoubtedly has spent plenty of money on Canwest ads:
“Newspapers work. It’s as simple as that. We know it works,” Boot said. “Newspapers draw attention. There’s an immediacy to it. There’s a credibility to it. It’s still a very, very good retail medium.”
The article also quotes a media buyer, president of an ad agency and the CEO of Canwest Publishing, Dennis Skulsky. Everybody, as you might imagine, has a dog in the newspaper advertising race. To no one’s surprise, they can’t say enough good things about running print ads. Here’s Mr. Skullsky:
“It’s not just about selling a full-page ad, it’s about an engagement that might have a tie to a digital program, to a website, a video, to a link to company website — it’s all integrated.”
That’s a great notion, if it were true. I browsed the paper, checking out all of the sizable ads. Few of them displayed URLs at all, and those that did weren’t prominently featuring the web address. It was an after thought. Here’s the best example I could find in today’s paper (apologies for the lousy photo):
All three of these ads included a URL, if in very small print. You’d have to be very generous to call these ‘ties’ to digital assets or any form of ‘engagement’. All the addresses point to non-custom URLs (admittedly one of them is DouglasCollege.jobs). If an ad buyer was designing an integrated campaign and wanted to measure the results, this isn’t how they’d go about it.
There are plenty of smart media people thinking about saving newspapers (my favourites are Mathew Ingram and the Sun’s own Kirk Lapointe), and a recent report suggests that Canada’s papers aren’t as bad off as those south of the border.
That said, publishing articles about the awesomeness of print advertising probably isn’t one of them.
UPDATE: Speaking of the Sun and old media, somebody pointed me to Stephen Hume’s recent column. He continues to wage war against the “semi-literate” new media barbarians at the gate, writing in praise of the editors that bloggers (et al) so sorely lack. There’s an exquisite irony in the article’s penultimate paragraph (the italics are mine):
I’m endless grateful to my unsung colleagues at The Vancouver Sun who so diligently keep the egg off my face.
I’m assured the typo was unintentional.
Hume’s correct in observing that everybody could use some editorial oversight. And yet, people keep reading the semi-literates without it.