More ad-creep to discuss

Imagine my surprise when I opened my Globe and Mail this morning and saw this on the centre spread.

When we last discussed innovative ways to place ads on newspapers, the discussion got rather heated – both here and over at adsthatsuck.

This is slightly different, but in many ways, equally offensive (or at the very least, confusing).

If you can’t tell what this is (it’s surprisingly hard to take a picture of a newspaper spread), it’s basically a full two-page spread ad, but with a story laid out in the middle / top. The story essentially amounts to a half page, but oddly centred.

My big problem is that they decided to keep their page flag (the page number and issue information) on the page, but move them in. Much like my arguments about the masthead on A1, I don’t like the idea of moving these. Normally on full page ads, they’d eliminate the information entirely. On any page with content, the ads are below the flag line (see today’s A20). It’s that simple.

Oh wait, I just saw their A2. It’s set up more like the spread. Hmm. Oh well, I think my point still stands. A2 is a strange beast in any newspaper and regular rules of layout don’t seem to apply. But as a rule, any page with content has a flag line across the whole top.

To me, this gives the impression that at the Globe, they are willing to change the basic format of their newspaper to accomodate advertisments. And that bothers me. Perhaps it’s paranoia, but in my mind at least, that leads me to wonder what else they’d be willing to do to accomodate an ad?

If you don’t agree with my paranoid ramblings, I think we can all agree this is confusing. I had to stare at this page for a few minutes to figure out what was going on. The story is completely surrounded by ads and at first I thought it was an advertiser copying an old article that applied to their campaign. I was stunned when I realized this was a new story.

Anyway, the A2 thing has taken some of the wind out of my sails, but I’m still really bothered by this. Anyone else?


  1. I’m going to be honest… it bothers me, but not for the same reason as it bothers you.

    It bothers me because it looks horribly awkward. I’d like to see what the ad actually is… if it fits in with that layout. Even if it does, your focus is split completely.

    I also don’t have the problem that you do with moving the page numbers to accomodate ads. Newspapers do a whole lot more than that to accomodate ads (reporting / not reporting on things to avoid losing advertisers). Typical layout standards aren’t as sacred to me as they are to you, I suppose.

  2. i agree with ryan on the splitting focus thing. what a way to bugger a story! it seems more like one of those adverts made over to look like editorial copy than actual editorial copy. sheesh.

    re: the ad, my big complaint isn’t so much what you said, joe as just how inconsistent the globe is. they’re supposed to rule off stories on the sides as well as the bottom, but they didn’t, so there’s really not that much to indicate the story’s not part of the ad.
    also, if yr sails need reventilating, they didn’t follow the “folio only over editorial, not over top-of-the-page ad” rule on A22.
    apparently, the only rule is there are no rules. oooh, inadvertent pun intended!

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