Hearne: Sex Sells or Does It? A Tale of Two Alt Weeklies

600797_10151413756316711_317125047_nThere are benefits to driving hundreds of miles into the desert…

Besides of course, the roadside marvels, gourmet dining, etc. For one, I got to check out a local alt weekly, The Santa Fe Reporter.

Funny thing.

In a town roughly one-twentieth the size of KC, during what might be described as the “off season,” The Reporter is whomping ass by comparison to the Pitch with 56 pages, more than 60 percent of them ads. Compared to a recent 44 page Pitch with less than 60 percent ads – many of which were promotional “Pitch Presents” ads, likely to have been discounted or free.

Now brace yourself for a sex shocker.

Our hometown Pitch is littered with three pages of sex ads to The Reporter’s zero.

I can tell you from experience the Pitch is paying a price for carrying those ads. Both in distribution and in attracting upscale advertisers who would rather spend their ad dollars in the vacuous INK than risk offending potential customers in the Pitch.

That’s just the way it works, guys.

And it speaks volumes that the Pitch is so desperate for ad revenue that it can’t bring itself to turn those ads down. Clearly it’s short sighted, but you know what they say about drowning men…

sexsurveyHere’s another small but important distinction/refinement.

Scan 131580008Both pubs carry Savage Love, Dan Savage‘s controversial sex column.

However, whereas The Reporter runs the column headline-less, the marketing majors at the Pitch feature massive, bold faced headlines like, “DICK HOLES.”

Scan 131580001Classy, huh? That’s really smart, guys. Good luck getting Baron BMW and Tivol to advertise.

There are a few other cool things in The Reporter – including one from the Pitch past – and that’s Rob Brezny‘s “Free Will Astrology.” Come to think of it, that might be a fun add for KCC.

As for the Pitch‘s sex cancer, the mag’s addressed the issue before.

In the days when the Pitch was going toe-to-toe with The New Times, Pitch publisher Hal Brody did away with the sex ads to differentiate the pub, gain entry to more distribution outlets and attract upscale advertisers. However, once the New Times was out of the way and the Pitch was minting money – remember those days? – it greedily returned to filling its back pages with lowbrow ads that included massage parlors accused of operating as brothels. Brothels buoyed largely by marketing efforts in the alt weekly’s, ahem, classified section.

It won’t be easy giving up the sex ads – and I’m not suggesting this as an intolerant prude – I’m just telling you how the ad game is played.

And right now the Pitch is losing that game. Foolishly.



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12 Responses to Hearne: Sex Sells or Does It? A Tale of Two Alt Weeklies

  1. the dude says:

    Eh, what’s the harm of a few pro ads for a half and half or a slap and tickle?
    What’s a businessman to do when he is holed up in this miserable cowtown on a business trip?

    • admin says:

      Try searching the Internet

      • smartman says:

        Yeah, search the internet on your company supplied smart phone, tablet or laptop so BIG BROTHER and little brother can see what you’re up to. Great idea. You’ve obviously never worked for a Fortune 500 Company or talked to IT and HR people that get paid to look for blood in the water.

  2. smartman says:

    The “gentlemen” buying their wives BMW’s and Tivol jewelry are the exact same men looking for naughty, kinky sex in The Pitch.

    • admin says:

      Which has absolutely nothing to do with whether Baron BMW. Tivol or Tiffany’s would buy an ad in a publication like the Pitch that caters to that whimsey.

      • smartman says:

        Whimsey? Golly gee shucks Earl, I’ll be a polecat up the parsimonius tree!

        Rule #1 of advertising, Buy Your Demo. The Pitch isn’t some KKK or skinhead rag or even the Muslim Journal. If you’re not buying ads in the Pitch, and it covers your demo, because of some really harmless sex slave ads you’ve obviously graduated from the Brandmeyer School of Business.

        Baron BMW advertises in Camp KC and is listed in their directory of businesses that support the KC LGBT community.

        Better let the devout Christians and Evangelicals know not to support that Sodomite and Scissor-Sister supporting business. Eh?

        Maybe BMW really means Beloved Men’s Weiners?

        • kansas karl says:

          The REAL first rule of advertising is….it’s the client’s money and if they don’t want to be next to Dan Savage taking about dirty butt holes then that is their choice and it is up to the ad professional to ferret out the best alternative, and there it is……INK. By holding on to the sex ads the Pitch allowed the Star to create a place for those ad dollars by doing basically the same publication.

          Reaching the mainstream gay audience is different than being in a publication that believes it must be constantly in your face to win, and it loses money and that is the point of Hearne’s article.

  3. kansas karl says:

    They may be the same guys buying both sex and BMW’s, however in this cowtown an ad placed in the Pitch will get more than a few sideways glances at church, and the wives will throw a fit. The Pitch has always had the right demo for reaching the yout’s but business owners move right along when presented with the opportunity. I passed on them regularly even when targeting their demo. The slap and tickle has cost them millions and respect.

    • Hearne says:

      Kansas Karl knows what he’s talking about.

      It’s about business not whether there should be alternatives for horny married dudes and out of town businessmen. Two different issues

  4. chuck says:

    I’m gonna go take a shower.

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