More Messages: It's an Ad, Ad, Ad, Ad World

Does anyone read newspapers on paper anymore? Strangely enough, yes -- and publishers hope such folks continue doing so, since they make a lot more money from print ads than Internet equivalents. Underlining this point are two full-page house ads that began appearing in the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News in recent days, both of which aim to convince businesses not to entirely abandon newsprint in favor of trendier forms of media.

Granted, the first ad pretends to target readers, not entrepreneurs. The copy, which appears under the heading "10 Reasons to Buy Your Next New Car From a Factory-Authorized Colorado Dealer," lauds dealers for "pricing," "selection," "rebates" and more. However, the list concludes with a sentence making it clear who's actually supposed to be impressed by this information: "The Denver Newspaper Agency is proud of its longstanding partnership with Colorado new car dealers as we work together to meet the area's unparalleled transportation needs." In other words, We love you! Please love us back!

Ad number two features determinedly retro graphics accompanying this line: "Every Day We Try to Print Something That People on the Right and the Left Can Actually Agree On. Newspaper Advertising." Such ads are described as "A Destination. Not a Distraction," since "studies show that consumers seek out newspaper ads." This is presumably a swat at TV and radio commercials, which most people try to avoid -- but it could also be interpreted as a slam against online pop-up ads, which both Denver dailies do offer. Not that such a meaning is intentional, since the ad concludes, "Take time to learn about the informed, influential and growing readership of newspaper media, online and in print."

Although website spots may be as lucrative as newspaper advertising at some point in the future, that day isn't here yet. From a profit perspective, the ad age is still behind the times. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts