Thoughts from the Publisher

by Neena Strichart

Having been in the newspaper business since 1994, I have a lot of fun stories that I often share with my coworkers. Wednesday morning I was telling Stephanie, one of our ad-sales gals, about a creative ad campaign that I ran back in the ‘90s for the owner of a tax/bookkeeper service company.
In telling her about the campaign, I mentioned how great it would be to have another advertiser who would want to run a series of ads that would be just as big an attention-getter and also make us laugh. Continuing on with my story, I gave Stephanie several examples of the ad copy, for example: Frankenstein’s Monster –Income Taxes, We Take Care of the Scarier of the Two; Brain Surgery–Income Taxes, We Can Help With the More Delicate of the Two; Tuna Cupcakes–Income Taxes, We’ll Assist You With the More Distasteful of the Two; etc.
Further along in my tale, I explained that part of the fun of that particular ad campaign was the contest the client and I held for a free dinner at George’s ‘50s Diner for the reader who came up with the best new ad for that series. Believe it or not, I still remember the entry and the winner’s name. A woman by the name of Shirley Murtaugh won the contest with the following entry: Teenagers–Income Taxes, We’ll Help Take Care of the More Frustrating of the Two!
I recall making that telephone call to Mrs. Murtaugh and telling her that she was the big winner. She was so tickled! A week or so later, Mrs. Murtaugh and I joined the owner of the income-tax company at the restaurant for a lovely dinner. I will never forget what a great time we had.
Now, to take the story a bit further, I shared with Stephanie that Mrs. Murtaugh now lives at Bixby Knolls Towers (the same place my mother resides), and I run into her nearly every time I visit Mom. The two gals are great pals and are enjoying one another’s company even if they are both busy– Mom with her various errands and hobbies and Shirley with her duties as president of the residents association.
Finished with my story, I told Stephanie that I thought I’d write about that long-ago fun ad campaign for my column this week. She declared that she thought our readers would enjoy it. At that point Stephanie went on to work on her projects while I went on about my business for the day.
A couple of hours later I received a phone call from Randy Kemner at The Wine Country over on Redondo Avenue in Signal Hill. He told me that he had just emailed me an ad campaign that he had put together that would run weekly for several months. He seemed quite anxious for me to read his ideas and let him know what I thought. Well, as soon as I opened the email, I hollered out for Stephanie to come into my office. I’m sure she thought something was wrong. Nope, I just wanted to show her Randy’s ad ideas– darn near the identical concept to the one I had told her about that morning. Once we both got over the shock, we had the time to actually read the content. I won’t give any of them away, but they are darn funny. You’ll just have to read them every week for yourself. They start running in today’s issue. I just know Shirley Murtaugh will love them!

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