Beginning of a 'Great Adventure:' Newspaper Co-Op Execs Feel Merger of Associations Will Bring Their Category into the Newspaper Industry Mainstream

Article excerpt

The co-op and vendor development sales council (formerly Newspaper Advertising Co-op Network or NACON) drew approximately 128 members to New York, Aug. 9-12 for the first of the Newspaper Association of America's council meetings.

"Doors are open to us like never before," said Mike Busse, council chairman and new business development group manager of the Los Angeles Times. Standing behind a podium and raising his voice to an evangelical tone, he told the co-op advertising believers, "We are about to begin a great adventure."

Busse praised the merger that created NAA because of the benefits, mainly financial, reaped by NACON becoming an NAA council.

Busse, although now won over as an NAA believer, had a "very anxious view of the merger" when he first learned of the plans.

"NACON was mine and I had to have control over it. I believed that it was my industry and I knew it best," he told the attendees.

Then he realized the benefits NAA could bring.

"I had complained for years that NACON was not in the mainstream of newspaper thinking. I wanted to elevate co-op in thinking to the same level as national and retail advertising."

Busse realized that NAA could break down the boundaries between the groups that no one had wanted to overcome. The boundaries were a problem for co-op managers who often put together programs that crossed into national and retail advertising domains.

Like a poor, misunderstood relation, NACON had never gotten more than a passing nod from publishers or the other marketing organizations. Because co-op is not easily defined in the traditional newspaper advertising categories, the co-op managers often found themselves reiterating what it is they do.

Now with NAA's resources behind them, the council is producing an education video for the other councils and publishers to show how co-op advertising works.

Co-op advertising works by coordinating funds given by manufacturers with funds that retailers provide. The most common are the ads that list several local stores that stock a national product. Traditionally, co-op advertising programs will give the retailer advertising monies contingent upon a set amount of stock ordered. For example, for every watch a jeweler stocks, he will get 5% of its worth for advertising from the watchmaker.

"I'm very excited about this. It's possible to reach the publishers now through NAA," said Jill Mackey, coop advertising sales supervisor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Mackey will oversee production of the video.

NAA also brings to NACON resources that were impossible for the 200-member group to garner on their own. …