As a senior account manager working in the sales and advertising department of the Daily Californians, I became increasingly interested in the advertising industry. Hoping to learn how Daily Cals’ advertising processes have evolved over the years, I decided to interview two former sales and advertising department alumni, Helen Marcus and Mary Mariani. Marcus joined the advertising team in 1964 as a freshman, and was business manager from 1966 to 1967. Mariani was with the advertising department from 1967 to 1970, as director of entertainment, production and business.
Movie theaters, textbook companies and airlines were examples of popular and lucrative customers for the newspaper at the time, according to Marcus. Marcus explained that on Friday the Daily Cal ran advertisements for local churches, which would carry the title of the sermon preached.
Marcus described how the publicity team had a lot of freedom with the copy they wrote.
There were advertisers, one of them was a burger that basically said put in whatever copy you want, Marcus said. These advertisements were often very rude. We ran contests at the office to invent an ad script that would advertise the burger: Want something hot between your buns?
Mariani explained that the Daily Cal sometimes had to make tough calls about whether to assess increased printing revenue or more coverage of important political issues. Mariani explained how, during protests at Peoples Park, the advertising department had to decide whether to cut lucrative ads for companies like Bank of America in order to have more space to write about the protests.
Since Marcus and Mariani worked in the advertising department, the process of physically printing advertisements has evolved considerably.
Marcus explained how staff members were to go to the printers office, off campus at midnight to print advertisements with a heat press and read the copy of the advertisement to make sure there was no ‘errors. However, said Marcus, you could only read the ad copy once you put ink and paper in it.
It was the reverse of how you would read it, which meant you were reading a story with the letters backwards or looking at an ad backwards, Marcus said.
This meant that there were sometimes glaring errors. Like today, the Daily Cal had to dial the client and relaunch the ad, without error.
The intricacies of physically printing an ad then are very different from the process of serving ads today. Today, online ads have opened up more options for the newspaper to earn revenue, such as social media, impressions (the number of pageviews an ad receives), or sponsored content.
In addition, the transition to color printing has placed more emphasis on the visual design of advertisements, and today the Daily Cal has a robust design team that works with the advertisement to design bespoke illustrations. for the customers.
Mariani said she particularly enjoys working with small local businesses, such as those on Telegraph Avenue, that account managers could develop relationships with, compared to larger national companies that were less involved in the process.
Marcus remembers that there used to be department stores and retail stores that wanted to place back-to-school ads at the start of semester, and airlines that wanted to place ads during spring break. These types of domestic customers would go to their advertising agencies who would have full details of how to reach student newspapers and tell them to place ads in all the major university papers, Marcus explained.
These companies had identified students as a market. It hasn’t changed; what has changed is the way companies use advertising to market products or services to students, according to Marcus. With the shift of more and more businesses to in-house advertising, the use of advertising agencies has become less popular, and now the Daily Cal does most of the prospecting for business clients itself.
Even though advertising options have developed, the process of acquiring and verifying the success of advertisements is similar today to that of the 1960s.
Some basic principles for staying in touch with your customer (and) understanding what your customer wants: How do you really help them? How do you check that your ad is doing good? Marcus said. These are still relevant questions today.
Ultimately, the Daily Cal’s advertising section reflects both how the values of Berkeley and the company have changed. In retrospect, the ads reflect pop culture, entertainment, and politics at the time of posting. The ads also feature the small businesses that have made Berkeley their home.
I enjoyed the fact that everything that is produced in terms of newspapers, magazines, TV, what have you, how important the advertising part is for it to exist if we wanted to have a 24 article pages, we had to have enough publicity to be able to pay for it, Mariani said.
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