The Philadelphia Inquirer, apparently hurting from lack of advertising, put 18 fake ads in today's paper.
This one, for Derrie-Air, is for an airline that says it is the only "carbon-neutral luxury airline." The newspaper has disclaimers in small print. The point apparently is to track the responses to the fake ads. Will they then show responses to advertisers in the hope that they will run real ads in the paper? Hmmmm.
Meantime, Tribune Co. COO Randy Michaelson tells employees of the Chicago Tribune this week, "The model for newspapers no longer works." With 18 fake ads in the PI, he may have a point.
Fake Advertisement: The Philadelphia Inquirer, in an effort to check advertising hits, created an advertisement for the fake airline Derrie-Air
Phila. newspapers run ads about fake airline Derrie-Air
By DEBORAH YAO
The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Derrie-Air has been exposed. Readers of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News opened their papers Friday to see ads for a new airline called Derrie-Air, which purportedly charges passengers by the pound.
But the new carrier will never get off the ground. It's a one-day advertising campaign about a fake airline by Philadelphia Media Holdings, the papers' owner, and Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) ad agency.
In light blue banners throughout the papers - as well as on their Web site, Philly.com - Derrie-Air cheerily trumpets its policy: The more you weigh, the more you pay. The ads direct readers to the Web site http://www.flyderrie-air.com .
Brian Tierney occupies the power suite that goes with being the publisher of a major legacy newspaper. Tall windows on three sides. Conference table for those who are summoned. Good view of downtown Philadelphia real estate. From this 12th-floor aerie, Walter Annenberg, an old-style press lord who chummed with royals and the Reagans, watched over his two cash cows, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the wildly profitable TV Guide.
Ambassador Annenberg, as he liked to be called after Nixon appointed him to the Court of St. James's, was in the newspaper business back when business was good. Tierney, a voluble, self-made millionaire from the Philly suburbs, is an ambassador of a different sort. He is the on-site manager representing the group of prominent Philadelphia investors who put up $515 million to buy the struggling Inquirer and the smaller Philadelphia Daily News when they fell from the grip of the collapsing Knight-Ridder chain in 2006.
In just the last few weeks, The San Diego Union-Tribune eliminated more than 100 jobs, one-tenth of its work force. The Chicago Sun-Times began a major round of newsroom layoffs, then put itself up for sale, and publishers in Minneapolis and Philadelphia warned that tough economics could force cuts there.
A newsstand in New York. Some major newpapers have several times as many readers online as in print, but grim financial reports have forced the papers to downsize.
Not long ago, news like that would have drawn much commentary and hand-wringing in the newspaper business, but in the last few months, reductions have become so routine that they barely make a ripple outside each paper's hometown. Since mid-2007, major downsizing - often coupled with grim financial reports - has been imposed at The San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, The San Jose Mercury News, USA Today and many others.
"Readers and Pigs are Flying in Philly"
After receiving some criticism last year due to a dwindling community of readers, The Philadelphia Inquirer is celebrating is largest circulation growth in five years, placing them at number one amongst the top fifty U.S. newspapers for circulation growth. Teaming up with Quaker City Mercantile, the paper has released a multi-faceted campaign in honor of this accomplishment. The concept stems from a comment issued to Philadelphia Media Holdings' CEO, Brian Tierney, stating that the newspapers readers would increase, "when pigs fly." this four page insert ran in the Inquirer on the 9th and 11th and is accompanied by radio and cinema spots.