Get geared up for Ad Conference tailgate


The upcoming Advertising Conference offers great training focused on boosting revenue and a relaxed atmosphere.

Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite player’s jersey and other team garb all day during the event, dubbed the Advertising Tailgate this year.

Event sponsors HSPA Foun­da­tion, Indiana Newspaper Advertising Executives Associ­­­­­­ation, and Trace Com­munications have a fun, fast-paced day planned Sept. 30 at the Student Center at Ball State University in Muncie.

Advertising Tailgate & Awards Gala

When: Sept. 30, 2011. Sessions for managers begin at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sessions for ad reps and designers begin at 10 a.m.

Where: L.A. Pittenger Student Center, Ball State University, Muncie

Registration deadlines: Sept. 2 for early-bird rate. Sept. 23 for regular rate.

Registration: Fax the form your newspaper received or visit to print a paper form or sign up online.

Information:, or (317) 803-4772

And did we mention someone will win an iPad during the afternoon idea session?

A new conference schedule this year accompanies a new venue for the event, said Karen T. Braeckel, HSPA Foundation director.

“Ball State offered a great deal on the facilities and technology rental that was too good for the board to pass up,” she said. “This will help keep down costs for this event and future ones.

“The Journalism Department also helped us recruit a talented staff member to train graphic designers.”

Depending on which sessions participants sign up for, registration includes breakfast, lunch and an afternoon reception.

Advertising departments can register by faxing the forms that were mailed to each newspaper or registering online at

All of the details about the conference as well as downloadable registration forms are available on the website.

The laid-back tailgating theme this year will allow people to relax while they take in all the sessions have to offer, said Laurie Ragle, INAEA president and vice president of advertising for Hoosier Times Inc.

The day begins at 8 a.m. for ad directors who choose to attend the managers’ morning idea-sharing breakfast. A facilitator will lead the group’s talk about successes, concerns, solutions or problems, and lots of coffee will be on hand. (Sorry, no adult beverages just yet.)

Two training tracks, one for ad managers and sales reps and the other for graphic designers, begin at 10 a.m.

Bob McInnis, president of McInnis and Associates of Greenport, N.Y., will present a session he calls “Driving Serious Local Ad Revenue in a Recession” for ad managers and sales reps.

“Bob is one of those trainers where you leave the session saying, ‘Wow, I really got something out of this,’” Ragle said. “He comes from our industry and speaks our language.”

The course is custom-made for recession-era advertising sales, McInnis said.

“HSPA conference attendees will leave with a much easier approach to eliminating the most difficult sales objections, including ‘newspapers don’t work,’ ‘it’s a recession and I have no money’ and ‘you’re too expensive,’” he said.

McInnis did training at the Herald-Times (Bloomington) this year with positive results, Ragle said.

“We’ve had good success selling new and existing advertisers using his techniques,” she said.

Donna Gray will present a concurrent session for graphic designers on “How to Make an Ad in 30 Minutes and Other Helpful Design Hints.”

Gray is president and creative director of Indianapolis-based Matchbook Creative ad agency and an assistant professor of advertising in Ball State’s Department of Journalism.

She will give graphic designers a customized presentation based on a survey HSPA Foundation will send to registrants to determine their training needs and wants.

A lunch session beginning at noon includes a panel discussion by five Indiana newspaper publishers. They’ll give their two cents on today’s newspaper advertising.

The executives from large-chain dailies to a small independently owned paper include:

• Henry Bird, senior vice president of the Capital Division of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.

• Bill Masterson Jr., who became publisher of The Times Media Co., a division of Lee Enterprises, in 2006 and was named group publisher for Lee in July.

• Jack Pate, president and publisher of the Evansville Courier & Press.

• Sarah O. Wilson, owner and publisher of The Rochester Sentinel.

• Chuck Wells, group publisher for Home News Enterprises products The Republic (Columbus), Daily Journal (Franklin), Brown County Democrat (Nashville), North and South magazines (suburban Indianapolis) and Screaming Eagle Media.

The afternoon idea-sharing round-table with moderator Dave Hedge, advertising director at the Evansville Courier & Press, comes after lunch.

This session is always among the most popular at the ad conference, Ragle said.

“This year we have really upped the ante and are giving away a 16GB iPad to one lucky winner with the best idea,” she said. “Come prepared to share and take away ideas – and maybe you will be the one to take away the iPad!”

The winner can show off the prize at a reception starting at 4 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, and adult and other beverages will be available. Attendees also can vote for the People’s Choice Award.

The 62nd annual awards gala follows at 4:30 p.m., and the bar will remain open.

“We hope this year’s conference format appeals to more people’s schedules,” Braeckel said. “Our trainers and sessions also offer a productive way to socialize with friends in the newspaper advertising industry.”