Last week, I received a note from Kevin McConnell, Publisher of The Ukiah Daily Journal in Ukiah, CA, about two-and-a-half hours north of San Francisco. Kevin attached a pdf from one issue to his email and a few examples of his approach are shown below his note. A few comments from Ed follow Kevin’s pages.
“Our approach brings attention to the advertiser’s message, thus improving their effectiveness.
We’ve been stacking our ads from the top of the page down for nearly two years. The advertisers love it, no one’s been offended and no one’s claimed we “sold out.”
Hear this: I’m not a purist.
I take Kevin at his word when he says: “The advertisers love it, no one’s been offended and no one’s claimed we ‘sold out.'”
And I think that if this strategy works for Kevin’s paper…well…it might just work for some others.
I have one question and one concern.
The question: Has this method won new advertisers and/or retained others who might otherwise have left?
The concern: This approach requires even more attention to modular design so readers don’t become confused. It’s bad enough doglegging the bottoms of stories/packages when ads are at the bottom of the page—but when we dogleg the top of a story/package under an ad it can create a perplexing design and text flow. Example: the Community Meetings package on the page just above.
One other concern (which really has little to do with ad placement) is the four- and five-line headlines on some elements. I think that’s a bit much.
How about the rest of you? Would you want to see this at your paper? Would you be willing to do this if it meant increased revenue? What would be your guidelines for doing it/not doing it?