My earliest lessons in how tetchy newspaper ad managers could be were learned at, well, my earliest newspaper job, at the Columbus Dispatch. They were always monkeying with ads that tried to push the boundaries a little. And it was a tough job, considering the paper ran ads for strip clubs, adult movie theaters, escort services and the like.
Things crept in, anyway, and it was always funny to compare before-and-after changes. The adult-movie ads, for instance, had to be business-card size, no pictures, and titles and screening times only. But after a time they started allowing limited review quotes. And so, between editions, “Full er*ction — Hustler’s highest rating!” would become “Hustler’s highest rating!”
My all-time fave was for a stunt performer at Columbus Motor Speedway, the city’s stock-car track: “Bennie Koske, ‘the human bomb,’ will blow himself and a car up Sunday night!” Oops. In the second edition, he would “blow up a car and himself.” Which, really, is much better grammar.
But one ad in particular was a problem, and it was for one of the James Bond movies. This one. The art was of Roger Moore, framed between the legs of a babe with a bodacious can. Braver papers ran the picture whole; the Dispatch (and many others) cropped her at mid-thigh.
I thought of this when I started noticing internet ads on newspaper sites for “Imagine Me and You,” which looks like we should call it “Lipstick Mountain.” From the trailer, it seems to be about a woman whose lesbian affair interferes with her upcoming wedding. But I noticed two versions of the ad. This one:
And this one:
Only problem is, I noticed both ads on the same newspaper websites. Damn. Seems to be a vertical-horizontal question.
And a pretty crummy movie, if its January release is any indication. That’s Piper Perabo in the lead — went to Ohio University, starred in “Coyote Ugly” with assorted supermodels and, well, isn’t an Oscar contender.
Finally, maybe my all-time favorite ad at the Dispatch came after I left, a line of 6-point type buried deep in the classifieds. It was for a piece of buildable land, close to a middle school. “Buz Lukens special!” it crowed. Evidently the classified-ad takers don’t read the rest of the paper.