Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

February Freeze in the Post-Season

Revenue generating ideas for February 2012
Toss in a game changer this February to celebrate popular and obscure holidays alike using tips and ideas from our Business Building Calendar.

With the holiday season all but over and the freezing temperatures still soaring through the air, warm up your sales generation by creating new opportunities for advertising revenue.  It’s no shock that sales have been a bit stagnant in recent months as the post-[holiday]-season is one of the hardest sales period’s to accommodate.

Toss in a game changer this February to celebrate popular and obscure holidays alike using tips and ideas from our Business Building Calendar. The full calendar can be found in the next issue of Above the Fold Magazine.

For now, here are a few ideas to prove your classified department is in it to win it this February.

Super Bowl XLVI Sunday

What it is:

The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League, culminating the 92nd season of NFL play that began in early September. It originated as a part of a merger agreement between the NFL and its rival, the American Football League. In the 1960s, it was agreed that the two separate leagues’ champions would face each other in an AFL-NFL World Championship Game until the merge officially began in 1970. After the merger, the two separate leagues became conferences within the same league, the NFL, and the game has continued as the championship game between the leagues’ conferences.

The annual game began in 1967, and now 46 years later, it is the most watched sporting event — and often said to be the most watched overall event — in television history. The day on which the game is played is now considered a “de facto American national holiday,” and is the second-largest day for food consumption in the U.S., only after Thanksgiving Day. As a perceived holiday attracting hundreds of millions of participants nationwide, enormous amounts of money are spent each year in advertising; not just on television, but in all forms of media.

The newly designed Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. — home of the Indianapolis Colts — will serve as this Super Bowl XLVI’s host on February 5, 2012. This will be the first Super Bowl held in Indiana.

How to make money:

Begin advertising Super Bowl XLVI specials as early as possible. It’s not uncommon to see print and online advertising for the championship game to begin as early as December. Common local advertisers to proactively approach include liquor stores and grocery shops. Try a different campaign with the traditional advertisers this year and include a mobile strategy. Offer SMS campaigns using a customized short code for each store. Advertising can look like: “Text TOUCHDOWN to XXXXX to receive 10 percent off all beer and wine,” or “Text 1STDOWN to XXXXX for a coupon to stock up on wings this Super Bowl Sunday.” Other mobile strategies can include hyperlocal notifications of game-day specials.

Look to new prospects for game day, as well. Real estate agents and auto dealers are prime candidates, as are electronic stores and restaurants. Realtors® can personalize their advertising by offering a look at their favorite NFL teams and game-day rituals. Gather seven agents in your sales’ region and run daily advertorials on a rotating basis weekly with a minimum commitment of six weeks. Have a theme for each week; one week, for example, can introduce readers to agents’ favorite teams and mascots. The next week can look at their favorite foods to indulge in on Super Bowl Sunday. Another week can depict game-day traditions, while the next can feature favorite commercials of Super Bowl’s past. These ads not only humanize the agents to your readers, but they also keep them in their reader’s minds while appealing to their interests.

Host a Souper Bowl. Grab a sponsor and host a community cook-off to find a champion soup maker. The event can also benefit a soup kitchen if you ask attendants to bring two cans of soup along with their entry fee. If the sponsor is a kitchen supply store or the like, the winner can be offered free cooking classes and honorable mention at the time of donation to the soup kitchen.

Valentine’s Day

What it is:

Valentine’s Day has been a long-standing tradition celebrating the love and romance inspired by St. Valentine, its patron saint. Although the true history is shrouded in mystery, the traditions of the holiday have become clear-cut through a consumerist’s materialistic attitude and belief in celebration with consumption.

The legends say Valentine was a priest in third century Rome under the ruling of Emperor Claudius II. During this time Rome was involved in numerous bloody excursions and substandard campaigns that brought about outrage in the citizens. Nicknamed Claudius the Cruel, Emperor Claudius II was finding it difficult to get soldiers to join his military, and when they did join they were less than satisfactory in their performance. It was his belief that the reason the Roman men resisted the military was due to their wives and families, rather than seeing his initiatives as corrupt or undignified. This led Claudius to cancel all marriages and end all engagements in Rome. Valentine opposed this movement. He aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples in Rome. For this he was beaten to death and beheaded. He was said to have died on February 14, the day we now celebrate as St. Valentine’s Day. 

Also during this time, the Pagan celebration of Lupercalia, where the names of young women were placed in a box and drawn by the men as chance directed, took place. Because this celebration lasted the entirety of February, it’s oft believed that the early Christian Church in Rome sought to do away with the pagan elements of these celebrations and solely celebrate the good Saint Valentine. So, with those customs in mind came the tradition of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons, for the next year.     

How to make money:

As February 14 slowly creeps upon us, the love — and sometimes distaste — is in full bloom. With that in mind, work with the florists to have a singles special this year. Beyond the traditional red roses for the lovey-dovey couples, look to other seasonal flowers to promote for self-satisfaction for those that are flying solo this V-day. Cold weather blooms include: acashia, carnations, cyclamens, evergreens, gerbera daisies, lilies, narcissus, orchids, pansies, Queen Ann’s lace and the Star of Bethlehem.

Also realizing some lovers’ wishes for necessities this February can bring about new revenue possibilities. Targeting campaigns that offer sales on appliances or services can intrigue readers, inspire gift ideas and aim for practicality. Online deals for services like auto detailing can be a perfect gift for men or women.

Create Facebook events for advertisers as well. Similar to pages, events can promote an advertiser but they have an expiration date. Charge for creation and upkeep. Upkeep plans can be daily, weekly, twice weekly, whatever works into your schedule and for the marketer.