There are a number of reasons I dislike those sticker ads that occasionally appear on page one.
Editors go to a lot of trouble of designing a front page that will cause readers to pick up the paper from a rack at a convenience store and, perhaps, even buy it.
But then we go and cover part of that front page up with a sticker ad:
That kind of defeats the purpose of putting that nice, big picture atop the Pensacola, Fla., News Journal, just last month, doesn’t it?
Yes, I know newspapers make money off the sticker ads. But we lose potential sales, too. If we’re not losing potential sales, then why do we go to so much trouble to design the skyboxes in the first place? Either skyboxes sell papers or they don’t.
Unless you were living under a rock yesterday, you probably saw this horrendous front-page sticker ad juxtaposition from Sunday’s Anchorage Daily News, posted yesterday by Jim Romenesko. It’s perhaps the worst example yet of a sticker ad causing an awkward juxtaposition with editorial matter.
This one — from the Courier-Times-Telegraph of Tyler, Texas, two years ago — shows what can happen to a headline if a sticker ad is carelessly placed on page one, obscuring part of your headline.
For bonus points, note what the sticker is advertising.
UPDATE: 6:15 p.m. PDT
And here’s yet another, from a while back:
“We remember“/”Here’s a deal you won’t forget.” Sigh…
Thanks to Joshua O’Connell for the photo.
A couple of years ago, Roy Greenslade — the media blogger for the U.K.’s Guardian — wrote about these kinds of juxtapositions:
The truth is that such clashes are noticed more by journalists than readers. We tend to be overly sensitive about such things.
I disagreed strongly. When an awkward juxtaposition slips into print or onto a web site — yes, it’s the media bloggers who discuss it.
But readers most definitely notice juxtapositions. Readers take screen snapshots and cellphone camera pictures and they post them to Fark, Reddit, Facebook, the Fail Blog. All over the place.
One or the other would have been fine. But this particular ad combined with that particular photo? Unfortunate for the Daily News. And amusing for the rest of us.
But check out the headline on the sticker.
For what it’s worth, the advertiser was touting financial services. Not weed. But still: Hardly effective for either the storytelling or the advertising.
Last August, we saw a new type of sticker ad: One in which the sticker is actually a fake sticker. This sticker ad was actually printed on page one of the Saratogian of New York.
I’ve not seen any more like that since then. Thankfully.
The other thing that readers consistently say they hate are spadeas — especially when they wrap around page one. I dislike them because, again, they cover up carefully-thought-out editorial matter and design.
That goes double when a paper has both a spadea and a sticker ad.
That’s the print equivalent of a pop-up internet ad that just won’t go away.