Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another Phony Ploy!

Here’s a new, predictable discovery by the Cynic-At-Large. A certain Chicago Sunday newspaper has traditionally carried the poor-man’s version of TV Guide, i.e. a grid listing the various channels and what will be broadcast at what time. For the past two weeks, the front page of the section has blared:

ATTENTION READERS: Beginning April 4, The Guide will be moving to Saturdays. This move was designed to give you more time to plan your TV viewing, and it allows us to provide more up-to-date listings.

Following that proclamation was a gentle prod to subscribe to the Saturday edition of the paper.

The Cynic-At-Large has a word for this kind of ploy. Bull.

What genius thought up that plan, and, given the usual dismal state of Saturday paper sales, what took so long?

The Cynic-At-Large will hereby piece together the scenario that led to this move.

Dear Reader: We’re conducting a short survey. If you fill out and submit this survey you will be entered into a drawing to win 40,000 lbs of hot, compressed air, donated by our local politicians.

Q: What section do you turn to first when reading the paper?
A: The TV listings.

Q: If you subscribe to or purchase the Sunday paper, what section are you liable to keep all week?
A: The TV listings.

Q: Is there any section of the paper that, if it were discontinued, would constitute a “deal-breaker” and cause you to cancel your subscription?
A: The TV listings.

Q: Are there any days on which you do not traditionally buy the paper?
A: Saturday.

And here you have a passive-aggressive, backdoor recipe for boosting sales of the Saturday paper. Unless the reader, such as myself, does not watch TV regularly and couldn’t care less about what is broadcast at what time.

But nice try, anyway.

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