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Tales from the Crypt, I mean ad department

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Not to get all super specific but does anyone who still works in newspapers have an ad department that is difficult to work with?

    Do you have any tips to make things better?


    Here's why I ask. Newish ad director doesn't like that the newsroom handles the glossy magazines, says they should be advertising.

    Publisher goes along. Magazines are now an advertising project. Since the mag work was always jobbed out to freelancers, doesn't seem like an issue to me.

    Have one coming up. Check in with the ad director about a few weeks back to see how things are going. Says great, got it under control.

    Now it is about two weeks out from printing, get ad layout from ad department for upcoming mag. Ask why because this is now an ad project. Ad director throws a fit and says it is still editorial. Find and forward e-mail that says it is advertising. Long break. Then says that isn't what she meant. Still editorial.

    Of course it is a holiday week and staff are out and it isn't like freelancers are just so begging for work that they'll give up Thanksgiving to work on some bullshit. Plus, it isn't like everything else stops, still have papers to get out and gotta get some hot corporate mandated tweets on the twitter box.

    So I sorta feel like that the ad department did this on purpose. I don't want to feel that way and it would be giving them more credit than they deserve in the machinations area but it has a strange feeling. Like a slow motion trainwreck.

    The reality, I'd guess, is people said one thing, got busy, didn't have time to think and didn't care since they aren't the ones who'll be working 90 hours a week to make it happen.
  2. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    My ad department sometimes adds an ad, or kills one, on a live section and doesn't tell us. Suddenly you've got
    a big new ad, or a big new hole, on a page you're building on a live section, two hours from deadline. Good times.
  3. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Good to know nothing has changed. We get similar bullshit from our ad folks, too. Good times.
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    You have the email saying it's now advertising. It's now advertising. You and everyone else aren't mind readers on what the ad director was meaning. Let the ad director put it out, since she's the one who made the proclamation. I'm assuming you wouldn't get paid for overtime for that 90 hours, so it's your time still stake as well. Since she said it was no longer your job, you're not working it.

    Ad director can learn a valuable lesson in checking her ego at the door by working the 90 hour week.
    Doc Holliday likes this.
  5. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I get paid overtime as I've battled back against the salaried forces.

    I'm probably the only manager in the company who is still hourly but I understand the sentiment.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Well, Jay, if you got an ad layout it indicates they have sold some ads. Sounds like you are way ahead of the game.
    FileNotFound likes this.
  7. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    I only have to deal with them twice a year: Football tab and winter sports tab. Very seldom do I have ads on my page, for whatever reason, so I don't deal with it very often. For this year's football tab, I couldn't work on any of the pages until the Monday before it printed because they wanted every precious second they could to sell ads.

    The winter sports tab prints next week. I've had the pages since last Thursday, all the ads ready to go. The only thing I can think of is they they sold football and winter sports as a combo because the pages for the WST have never been ready more than three or four days in advance.

    This year's problem is different, though. The WST is supposed to print Dec. 2. They've scheduled another tab to print the same day and the guys on the press are bitching because they don't want to deal with two inserts. In addition, how the second tab is going to be handled might be a last-second thing because it isn't selling.
  8. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    Ad department at my daily years ago: "Hey. We're putting out a Thanksgiving tab. Editorial will handle the content."

    Me, to my boss: "Great. I'm the food guy. I want to all of this. I won't expect overtime. It'll be a good project for me."

    Me, in my mind: "This'll be a good portfolio piece."

    Ad department, a week or so before the tab it supposed to print, when all my stuff is ready to go: "We didn't sell enough ads. We're not doing the tab."
  9. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Well-Known Member

    This is how the weekly where I used to work did it. We rarely had a business buy an ad just for the one of the tabs (we had three — fall, winter and spring) because they were sold as a package with the fall tab. Made things really easy on the lady who created the ads and did the layout.
  10. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    This happens monthly at my shop.

    And then the ad department says, at the last possible second, "Put the few Healthy Seniors Dig Zumba ads we DID sell on a couple of daily pages. Editorial can find some wire content to fit that theme."
  11. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    We do several tabs each year, including a holiday guide that goes to every house in town. Usually it comes out in late November and is pretty much a money grab for our advertising lady. We do stories about all the holiday events going on, but they are mostly the same events each year so it's not too much work.
    This year we were never told anything by our publisher. Production manager mentioned it was going to press on a Tuesday (two weeks earlier than usual); this was the Wednesday before. Our stuff had to be in that Friday, so we had two days to pull everything together, get fresh quotes, etc. We got it done and the guide actually looks really nice. Lot of ads, but our ad lady worked almost exclusively on selling those ads for two months. Regular paper only got a couple of new ads during that time, for upcoming events. And of course she's hardly worked since the guide came out and I'm betting she will be mostly out throughout December. All while still getting her regular salary that's nearly equal to ours and 15 percent commission on all ads that run in the regular paper.
    Jay, wish I could tell you something to ease your frustration, but I'm in the same boat. I take comfort in knowing our shop used to have furloughs before I came, but the ad lady is selling enough ads (formerly our publisher doubled as the salesperson and let's just say he doesn't have the physical assets ad lady uses to her advantage) that we don't have furloughs. Paper is actually doing well enough we've bought two new Nikons the past two years, among other things. When she goes off about her horrible first world problem rants, I put on my headphones and ignore it. Seems to help.
  12. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    I remember the days before "rebranding" and "cross-purposing" and wish that everyone in the ad department would just stay the hell out of my yard.
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