I did a double-take when I saw the cover of this week’s Observer. As you can see, it’s a Shiner ad. As you can see if you look very closely, it says “paid advertisement” at the bottom, in the gold border. The Morning News does something sorta like this periodically, where an ad wraps around the front page. But those ads never obscure the entire front page. The News, though, doesn’t have a cover. For a periodical with an actual cover, I believe this is an unusual move, giving over the whole thing while incorporating your logo into an ad. I emailed the editor of the Observer, Joe Tone, to ask him about the deal.
JOURNALIST: Does the Shiner ad make you happy?
TONE: Shiner does make me happy, until number 5 or 6, at which point I tend to get sleepy.
JOURNALIST: Is this a local buy or is every paper in the chain doing this?
TONE: Dallas and Houston, I’m pretty sure.
JOURNALIST: Is this the first time an ad has been the cover of the Observer?
TONE: The ad isn’t the cover. The cover is the cover. The ad is around the cover. I like to think of it like a hug.
JOURNALIST: Next week, will you please make the Hot Chocolate Chat ad your cover?
TONE: I don’t know what that is but assume it has something to do with what the Fox says?
JOURNALIST: I understand if you can’t tell me how much Shiner paid for your cover. But how much would I have to pay for your soul?
TONE: Less than the ad costs, I assure you.