Promotional Spotlight: Sample News Ad Campaign

Promotional Spotlight: Sample News Ad Campaign

When Sample News Group was looking for a program to assist their 16 daily and weekly newspapers to hit their monthly revenue goals, Dave Barry was asked to head up a group of advertising and marketing professionals who would ultimately be known as the “Gap Team”. Barry, the general manager of The Daily Review (Towanda) and publisher of its weekly group, along with his fellow Gap Team members, saw an opportunity to create fully flushed-out advertising initiatives that could be utilized by any or all of the Sample papers. “The ideas are not specific to any market; they’re meant to be able to be implemented anywhere by anyone,” states Barry.

The Gap Team came into existence at the beginning of 2019 and has worked to include all members of the Sample News team to assist with filling the gap. Ideas are accepted from all newspaper staff – including everyone from editorial, to production, to advertising. “We offered an Amazon gift card for the best tip one month, and a person from our graphics department won,” said Barry. “You never know where a great idea will come from. Then we (the Gap Team) can take it and fully develop it for use for the coming months.” The Gap Team generally delivers three or four new program ideas for each month, providing the package to the papers a few weeks before the start of the month to allow them time to prepare to implement those they would like to use.

The Gap Team’s results have been very encouraging so far, generating over $120,000 in revenue that would not have otherwise been collected were it not for their initiatives. Some of the programs Barry and his team have put together have included an “Own the Day” advertisement blitz package to afford an advertiser the opportunity to dominate the ads for the day both online and in print, the American Legion’s centennial celebration, a “Bars, Pubs, & Joints” special section piece highlighting local establishments and offering specialty advertising options, and a print and online classified ads job fair.

In tandem with the Gap Team’s initiatives, Barry worked with his circulation department in late spring to assemble what he keenly referred to as an “all-out blitz” for new subscribers. Barry said he and his Circulation Director, Bill Kurtz, worked together to push ten marketing initiatives in just three months, including a witty ad campaign, a friends and family discount for new subscribers, a subscription sample opportunity and a partnership with local vendors for complimentary or deeply discounted food and merchandise. The blitz has yielded great results thus far, and final results for the summer are yet to be seen.

While many publications might find the struggle to reinvent their ad initiatives dull and tedious, and a subscription drive impractical, Dave Barry and the Sample News Group have shown great creativity and determination to increase subscriptions and fill the gap.

For additional information, please contact Dave Barry at 570-265-2151 Ext. 1601, or