Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New Products to Create,sell, and Transmit Ads

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New Products to Create,sell, and Transmit Ads

Article excerpt

Using the Web to access ideas and art for spec ads and to deliver and manage ads in any format

The World Wide Web plays a central role in two very different offerings for ad departments. Each goes well beyond its most obvious production- side file-delivery functions by adding value in support of ad sales.

Newspaper ad-production outsourcer AdOut's "The Spec Dept." was formally released a month ago, on the last day of the America East conference and trade show, in Hershey, Pa. At the same event, but not on the show floor, Online Marketing Specialists Inc. promoted its DART ad delivery and communication system.


Jeff Turner, founder and CEO of AdOut, Van Nuys, Calif., sought an "alternative to traditional distribution of spec art and ads" after finding that newspapers still rely on a disorganized array of sources and storage for their advertising clip art. "The time has come," he says, "for this type of thing to happen in the newspaper industry."

Devised as much as a sales aid as a production convenience, the Internet-based subscription network enables laptop-equipped sales reps to immediately call up successful ads and suitable art.

Together, says Turner, a salesperson and a prospective advertiser can explore what's available and what has worked for others. The rep can then return with something to show ad production beyond a rough sketch or explanation of the client's idea.

Unlike books or compact discs, The Spec Dept. offers multiple-user access. Monthly fees for unlimited access range from $50 for subscribers with circulations under 20,000 to as much as $495 for those with circulations exceeding 250,000.

The library of ads and artwork consists of five sections: two of tear sheets, one with templates, another containing images, and a section related to co-operative advertising opportunities. Searches can utilize about 80 categories, such as keyword, size, season, or holiday. Searches deliver thumbnail images.

Tear sheet sections include AdOut's own most effective ads from the past 10 years ( and a showcase of the best ads from newspapers nationwide. AdOut also created a section of spec templates that can be modified using the company's ACE Engine or traditional techniques. ACE was designed to automate creation of template-oriented text-and-image ads. The company says it frequently updates the ad image section.

In the co-op section, users can review manufacturers' co-op advertising programs for various products, then link to particular sites to find in-market retailers of the relevant brands. AdOut, says Turner, meets with manufacturers to develop suitable ad templates for their co-op ads which users can then download.

The co-op section, says Turner, "is directed both toward ad production and ad sales" by helping connect staffers with ad sales opportunities and providing the tools to work up the ads.

By year's end, Turner expects the library to contain approximately 10,000 ideas for ads. He says The Spec Dept. has been loading about 40 ads and images daily and he expects the rate to rise.

The Spec Dept. relied on input from several Gannett papers that examined the service before its release. Though it was a prototype that could not be used in production, "the feedback has been very, very good," says Gannett advertising technology director Lori Hinterleiter. "Overall, we really think it's a great concept," she says, adding that AdOut was "very responsive" to suggestions. For example, downloadable ad files originally only in Multi-Ad Creator2 format may also be made available in the earlier Creator and QuarkXPress formats.

To Rob Paz, ideas are more important than the availability of the files. "Even if we have to redo the ad, I don't have a problem with that," says the ad director for the 21,500-circulation Public Opinion, in Chambersburg, Pa. …

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