Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Break Out

Discovering new ad space
If you have a client that needs some fresh ad ideas, get your staff together to play a game.

Everybody in the advertising industry is looking for the next big thing to get their clients noticed. Attracting new customers while keeping the old is the name of the game, and those who come up with the cleverest innovations will likely do the best. While print advertising may still be a good investment, if everyone else is searching for new ways to get their message out there, you should too. Don’t limit yourself to two-dimensional advertising and expand into different ways of seeing your and your clients’ messages integrated into the world.

Start by following the most basic concept of innovation; think outside the box. How many times have you heard this? It’s probably bordering on cliché. However, the intent behind this statement is invaluable. Innovation is the root of success, and to be innovative, you must do something no one has done before. Thinking outside the box isn’t an easy task though; you have to allow yourself to remove the constructs of your industry that you have likely spent years learning. You have to break down both the literal and figurative walls that are confining your advertising.

For example, many companies are adding non-traditional advertising to their roster. By placing their logos in unfamiliar places, they are able to grab attention. One company even slapped their logo on an Olympic athlete as a temporary tattoo. What better advertising can you get?

Thinking outside the box is easier said than done. Below are some fun ways (read: outside the box ways) for you and your staff to challenge themselves think outside the box.

Make Dice

Seriously. Make a game of it. Put different ad locations on each side of one die and different industries on the sides of another. Roll the dice and see what happens! Although every roll may not be a golden idea, let your staff kick the proverbial ball around and see if they can come up with a way to use the location to advertise the industry!

Go Mad

Mad Libs are hilarious. So, to get your staff laughing and brainstorming, create a mad lib with fields for industries and ad locations. This way, you’ll be able to find the unlikely match made in heaven while getting in some much-needed humor.


A playground favorite, duck-duck-goose has been a great way for kids to make friends. You can use it to find ways to advertise in a fun, new way. If you have a client that needs some fresh ad ideas, get your staff together to play this game. Put the client’s name on a card and give it to your “goose,” and give all your “ducks” random locations or venues. Once the “goose” has picked a new “goose,” match up the cards and see if you can be creative with the pair. Who knows?

Although these ideas may seem rather juvenile, they can help you break from the routine that is keeping you in a rut. So many great innovators have credited their success to dreams or play. So, when you’re struggling to find the next big idea for your paper, remember to play!