Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

August Heat

Sizzling end-of-summer revenue ideas
As summer is coming to a close, parents and children are preparing to head back to school.

As summer is coming to a close, parents and children are preparing to head back to school. Which means, new clothes, new books, school supplies and more. The back-to-school season is a lucrative time of year for retailers, and advertisers shouldn’t be difficult to come by. Though many of the traditional ads fall into the retail realm, embrace this theme and apply it to the verticals. For instance, college kids are going back to school as well — and what better way to celebrate than a new car to get them from their dorms to classes. In real estate, last-minute rentals are important. Beef up the recruitment section with an afterschool-job section or a job fair for incoming college students.

While traditional back-to-school ads focus on the student or parents, this year, look for new approaches and target demographics. For instance, honor teachers with a relaxing event that will prep them for the rigors of teaching; draw on the ideas used by Florida Times-Union’s soft job fair (for more, check out the May/June issue of Above the Fold Magazine) and host something similar, offering school supplies, books, special programs, speakers and more! Don’t forget the indulgence, with massage booths, hairdressers and even insoles — teachers are on their feet all day, too.

Back to school is not the only theme that will get revenue flowing. August plays host to a wide variety of unique events and holidays. Here are few more ideas, but use our Business Building Calendar and challenge your staff to create new campaigns this year.

Weird Contest Week| August 14–19, 2012

What it is:

Weird Contest Week originated in Ocean City, N.J. This annual event features a different contest each day of the week. While the contests also change year to year, there are a few mainstays, including, Taffy Sculpting; French Fry Sculpting; Artistic Pie Eating featuring pies in the shape of seagulls, boats, or, even the state of New Jersey; Wet T-shirt Tossing; Putrid Puns; and Celebrity Super Hero Impressions.

Though National Weird Contest Week is primarily an Ocean City observation, it can be easily adapted into other markets. For instance, last year, an online dog bakery, Three Dog Bakery, hid images of their founding dogs throughout their website, challenging the public to search and find all images hidden in their pages.

How to make money:

Contests have always been a great revenue source for newspapers, and a great way to get readers involved. Hide a fake ad in the pages of your classifieds and challenge readers to find it. Offer a remodeling contest for ugly bathrooms or kitchens. Create a scavenger hunt throughout the paper, or specifically within the ads, for viewers to find a hidden message. Encourage local businesses to create weird contests for their customers, with clues and hints printed in the daily newspaper. Also, embrace social media, encouraging Facebook likes, Pinterest pins or boards, tweets, FourSquare check-ins and more. The possibilities are endless and will undoubtedly be fun for everyone involved.

This celebration can even be used as a managerial tool. Motivate your sales staff with a new, weird contest every day. This will add a jovial environment to your office, get their creative juices flowing and, hopefully, increase sales at the same time!  

National Aviation Day| August 19, 2012

What it is:

In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed August 19 National Aviation Day, in honor of Orville Wright’s birthday. Cities across the U.S. have celebrated this day with festivals and events that enthusiastically embrace aviation. Events have included building and flying an egg carton glider, kite building and flying, screenings of educational films about the Wright Brothers and aviation, and celebrations at the Wright Monument in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

How to make money:

If you have an airport, aviation school, airfield or the like, encourage the readers to celebrate the great feat of flight! Work with your local flight institution to offer a day filled with aviation-related activities. Offer tours of the facilities, rides and flying lessons, build models and egg carton gliders and hands-on, educational aerospace activities. Even if you don’t have an aviation-related business nearby, you can still celebrate in an open field with a day full of educational activities and kite flying.

National Be Kind to Humankind Week| August 25 – 31, 2012 

What it is:

Be Kind to Humankind celebrates kindness and good deeds across the globe. In 1988, Lorraine Jara read an upsetting article about a tragic boating accident that was ignored by bystanders and resulted in one young man losing his life. Spurred by the devastation she felt, she decided to create BK2HK. This week-long celebration highlights a different cause each day: Sacrifice Our Wants for Other’s Needs Sunday; Motorist Consideration Monday; Touch a Heart Tuesday; Willing to Lend a Hand Wednesday; Thoughtful Thursday; Forgive Your Foe Friday; and Speak Kind Words Saturday.

How to make money:

This holiday is not about revenue generation, and focusing on revenue could, in fact, come across as tacky. Instead, look at it as garnering goodwill in the community — for both the paper and your advertisers. Encourage your advertisers to do and show off their good deeds. Perhaps a portion of their proceeds could go to BK2HK or a related organization of their choice.