Advertisers are the lifeblood of the regional paper I edit. Without a cover price, advertising revenue is our only revenue. Advertisers therefore pay to print the paper.
Sadly, unlike donations to Dog rescue centres, elderly people do not tend to leave their worldy goods to their local newspaper when they pass on to the next phase.
Most of our advertisers are a joy to work with – enthusiastic, hard working people, developing and growing their businesses, whether small, local shops or larger, national enterprises. Most people have a good idea of how advertising works, and have their shit together – logos, the font they like, pictures, colour information and a good idea of what they want to say. And then, there are the others……
There are indeed a significant amount of people out there who seem to struggle to comprehend the most simple of tasks. Even booking some space in the local paper and deciding what words to put in that space to best bring attention to their particular business is an uphill battle to some, leaving us to wonder how these folk actually manage to run their businesses.
Some book space for an advert, and appear with some notes scribbled on toilet paper as their advertising copy. Others book the smallest advert we have on offer, and then turn in a sheet of A4, crammed with tiny writing, and are disgusted and outraged when we have to point out that they have only booked enough space to fit ten words, and not the 600 they’ve decided on.
This morning, one of our lesser-favoured more elderly advertisers appeared, resplendent with attitude, walking cane and a literal armful of scraps of paper.
I ignored him, as in the past he has found my greeting of ‘Hello there, what can we do for you?’ an abomination against basic manners, and has turned and walked out, refusing to speak to me. I now allow one of my long-suffering colleagues to deal with this particular customer – how joyous for her.
This particular client spends a grand total of £20.50 with us at a time, giving us a profit of around £1.50 after print and distribution costs have been taken out. Last month, we spent around half an hour with him, deciding on the exact ten words he had room for in the booked advert.
After standing at the counter for around five minutes, my colleague politely suggested that the gentleman return when he had the piece of paper he was frantically searching for, which contained the changes to the advert he’d spent half an hour the previous visit deciding that he wouldn’t change.
Upon returning to her desk when he was unable to find the advert changes on the relevant scrap of paper and finally left the office, with a promise to return, she wiped the shower of spittle she’d been subjected to from her face.
Who says we don’t work hard for our revenue?! Another visit or two from this most-treasured and long-standing advertiser, and we’ll certainly have earned our £1.50!