Jun 11 2009
Retired ad-man Adrian Morgan gives a take on dealing with pesky media advertising representatives and offers sage advice.
Those working in the advertising and PR industries will no doubt have their own opinion of the AR. The AR is an Advertising Representative, a person╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡making gentle to hysterical requests for you to place an advertisement in the media vehicle they represent.
Needless to say, the ARΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s telephone call is about as welcome as one of those pesky life insurance agents doing a cold calling number offering financial support to the world you have left behind, should you feel like considering this scenario.
The ARΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s are divided into two types: Male and female. The first is thick-voiced and stupid. The second is hysterical and more stupid.
Both do not have an idea of what they are doing Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ this I say from the position of╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡someone who hadled key╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡wine trade accounts for years. And the reason I say it, is because the AR does not seem to have an idea of who he or she is trying to sell a bit of advertising space to, or Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ more importantly Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ why the recipient of the sales pitch should advertise.
For those who have not experienced the delights of being an AR target, I shall attempt to recreate a typical telephone call.
AR (Male): Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Howzit. Can I speak to Adrian Morgan please.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║It is he speaking.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Cool! Listen, Bud, this is Rodney from Cape Jugs for Mugs Tourism Guide, and IΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗ve got a great deal for you. YouΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗re into wine, right?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Perfect! IΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗ll give you two pages at R13 500, full colour, and commission included. HowΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s that for a deal? Are you in?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Has your guide been briefed to feature a wine-related element?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Hey, Rod, IΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗m just the Ad Rep, okay?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║So why should I advertise in a publication that may not be related to wine at all?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Look, Adrian, donΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t give me a hard time…I donΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t know anything about the wine industry.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║You donΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t know anything about the wine industry?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║But you are trying to get me to advertise wine in your publication?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Yah! Are you in?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Just call me Rod, Adrian.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║You are the weakest link. Fuck off.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Of course, engaging in this kind of theatre can be great fun on a quiet Wednesday morning. But the mind boggles at the lack of strategic thinking among ARΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s.
Then you get the cocky type, usually a female.
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Adrian Morgan.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Hi. I saw your clientΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s advertisement in Brine Magazine.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Yes. Nice wasnΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t it?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Why arenΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t you advertising with us then, huh?Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
ME: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Because my client makes 200 cases of wine at R340 a bottle and his product would feel slightly out of place in a weekly gossip magazine that has never written one word on wine, except the stuff Steve Hofmeyr drank from the call-girlΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s navel.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
AR: Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Well, I think youΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗re making a big mistake. A big mistake. DonΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t come crying to me when your client goes bankrupt.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Things could be so much simpler if ARΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s did a bit of strategic planning. The following set of pointers could suffice:
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöé╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡Always call an agency after lunch. It is a well-known fact that a bit of social lubrication makes one more amenable to spending money, especially if the money is not his own and is being drawn out of him by a husky-voiced (female) blonde who is not his wife.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöé╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡Stroke the agencyΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s ego by complimenting it on the high standard of creative work. Giving the impression that the ARΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s publication requires the visible presence of the agencyΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s creative genius Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ with hard, cold cash just being an aside Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ can go a long way.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöé╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡When attempting to procure a wine-related advertisement, attempt to know the basics so that you can engage in fruitful conversation with the potential client. A screw-cap is not a catchy new contraceptive and bush-vines have nothing to do with the Kruger Park.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöé╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡Never sound cheap. Offering an advertisement at a special once-off discounted rate smacks of desperation. Always maintain the hard-to-get pose.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöé╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡When being queried by a client as to your publication’s circulation figures, always disclose readership figures. DoesnΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t 45 000 sound better than 9 000?
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöé╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡Promise editorial coverage as a bonus, in other words, if you advertise, weΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗ll give you Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║free editorialΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ. This tactic is employed by various publications already, so if you canΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t beat them, join them.