Newspaper advertising finally takes off (but not necessarily in a good sense)

By Dogtown Commoner | Posted at 7:28 pm, July 19th, 2007 | Topic: the press

There’s been a lot of chatter in newspaper circles about the recent introduction of advertising on the front pages of some papers. But front page ads aren’t the only innovation in newspaper advertising lately. Here is a photo of pages A22 and A23 in Thursday’s San Francisco Chronicle:

Liftoff Ad

Perhaps we should call this a “pop up” ad in print form (or maybe “liftoff” ad would be more apt). One attribute it shares with online pop up ads is that it seems designed to be annoying, getting the reader’s attention by interrupting the smooth flow of a story. Here’s a closer look at page A23, where you can see more clearly that the ad cuts across a single article, breaking each of the five columns into two pieces with jagged edges:

Ad closeup

This kind of visual interruption of an article is routine in magazines these days, and also in the feature sections of newspapers, but the news sections are typically kept more graphically straightforward (anyone who has tried to read the A section while walking a dog or standing in a crowded subway car can understand why). Even in places where graphical interruptions do occur, in those cases the text is usually broken up by some kind of illustration that accompanies the article, not by an advertisement.

This ad is for Virgin America airlines, which just launched its service from the San Francisco airport the day the advertisement appeared, so one can assume they were trying to do something bold and attention-grabbing. Apparently the ad served its purpose, because it got at least one person’s attention.