Media: Double Standards - From classified ads to multinational campaigns

Big players in regional press explain why local publications offer something for every kind of advertiser, and talk sales systems, diversification and leather pants.

NIGEL WEBSPER - DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR, ARCHANT

- What kind of advertisers does regional press attract?

We attract an extremely wide range of advertisers, both large and small, from the private advertiser wishing to sell unwanted items to government organisations and multinationals.

- What steps have you taken to bring in national advertising?

Through Clacksons, a leading national advertising sales company, we are involved in cross-publisher initiatives delivering new advertisers to the regional press, such as the Capital Package with Trinity Mirror. We also use research to give national advertisers a view of how our readers use and trust our products.

- Is the sales system too complicated? Does this put advertisers off?

More than 80 per cent of the industry's total weekly circulation can be accessed using just five sales points. Provision of audience measurement is available at the touch of a button through Jicreg. The development of the Adfast system has revolutionised copy delivery.

- Why are you having to extend your portfolio to attract advertisers?

We are not "having to" extend our portfolio to attract advertisers; rather, we wish to offer greater opportunities to advertisers to reach specific reader groups or geographic audiences. We are constantly reviewing the strategy of each of our titles to ensure they are best-placed to offer the highest quality and coverage.

- What kind of products have you developed?

Lifestyle magazines; niche publications such as Let's Talk, targeting a 55-plus readership; Jumbo, to help people sell items they no longer need; and Your Waste, Your Choice, a recycling and waste management consumer magazine. And, of course, websites.In addition, we have launched tabloid and glossy A4 property titles as well as self-select job titles.

- What is the most unusual creative opportunity you have offered an advertiser?

Transactional models, where we are paid on results. Non-traditional advertisements, ie. triangular and round shapes, and ads sited in the centre of editorial pages.

- What new reader groups have you attracted through your new media portfolio?

Increase in younger and "time-short" reader groups. Also readers who prefer to consume their news through electronic channels.

- Which other regional title are you impressed by? And why?

Kent on Sunday - the title has grown hugely and developed strong links, with a broad appeal and a unique method of distribution. Also, the Carlisle News & Star has consistently performed well in terms of circulation, which reflects their commitment to being a local paper.

- What would your dream job be?

Top-seeded tennis player.

- What do you do outside work?

Play tennis - regularly but badly. Fly planes - regularly and well. Spend time with my family, particularly my six-month-old twin daughters.

MARK RIX - MANAGING DIRECTOR, MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS

- What kind of advertisers does regional press attract?

You can find private advertisers selling anything from furniture to cars, or even their home. Local traders use the classified columns of regional and local newspapers. We also have a multitude of local, regional and national advertisers, from BT to BA, and,recently, the global giant Unilever recognised the strength of the medium for pure brand advertising.

- What steps have you taken to bring in national advertising?

We may be based in Manchester, yet a dedicated team of people are active within the London agency market and elsewhere around the UK in presenting the case for our products. Our association with Amra provides a competitive edge with London agencies. Our industry body, The Newspaper Society, communicates the power of our medium to planners, creative teams and clients.

- Is the sales system too complicated? Does this put advertisers off?

The regional press has grown its share of national display advertising every year over the past decade - this would suggest that advertisers are not put off by the prevailing sales system. Consolidation within the sector has served to reduce the number of regional press buying points, thus reducing complexity in access to the medium.

- Why are you having to extend your portfolio to attract advertisers?

Extension of our portfolio and broadening of our offer in terms of media choice means we can target new sectors of advertising revenue while extending the activity of existing customers within new media channels.

- What kind of products have you developed?

Apart from our flagship daily title, the Manchester Evening News, we have recently launched MEN Lite, a daily freesheet .We publish Metro in Manchester. V Magazine was launched in April to target the affluent 50-plus sector.We have a range of guidebooks including a tourist guide, children's guide and shopping guide.Channel M television is our city television station, available from next year.

- What is the most unusual creative opportunity you have offered an advertiser?

The Manchester Evening News has a hot-air balloon and we developed a package that involved flying the balloon over a televised professional golf tournament, the "MEN Open", with a banner for the advertiser under the balloon.

- What new reader groups have you attracted through your new media portfolio?

With Channel M, MEN Lite and Metro we have engaged a young, media-literate, early adopting, mobile audience. V Magazine has captured a lucrative market segment with affluent mature readers. The guidebooks reach a wide section of the population, from students to parents.

- Which other regional title are you impressed by? And why?

The Leicester Mercury. As well as being a great regional title, I think its ability and methods of utilising data intelligence to create efficient practices is impressive.

- What would your dream job be?

Olivia Newton-John's leather pants fitter.

- What do you do outside work?

Climb the odd mountain, a bit of cycling, chauffeur my daughter all over the place and try and play some guitar and golf.