When Marion Barry Jr. was declared the official winner in last fall's D.C. mayoral election, Time magazine's regional advertising manager, Bob Burns, invited the mayor-elect to lunch.
The product of the initial coversation less than two months ago is an unusual 24-page advertising supplement in the Washington area edition of the weekly -- which hit the news-stands on Tuesday as the new mayor was being inaugurated.
In rather blunt terms, an extensive article continues throughout the supplement, asking the question: "Washington, D.C. -- Can a City Take a Stand?" Laced with 20 advertisements from area and national firms and photographs of Barry and his city, the article outlines in detail the city's major problems of weak public schools, inadequate housing and high unemployment, as well as the new mayor's plans to confront those issues.
"And while the Barry promises contain some golden rhetoric... there are some interesting nuggests which may lead the job-hungry into the promised land of opportunity," the article states candidly before detailing some of Barry's job-training and jobcreation projects.
Time's supplement ends with a rhetorical question of its own to the magazine's area readers: "A new administration has taken a stand. Will a city stand up to be counted?"
Burns said that he suggested to Barry that "a lot of people didn't know him" -- many of whom Burns suspected were business and professional people who read Time, whose Washington metropolitan area edition has 130,000 subscribers and an estimated readership of 500,000. By "zoning" advertising in regional editions, weekly magazines include advertising aimed exclusively at particular markets.
The Time advertising manager said yesterday that Barry liked the idea and that a free-lance writer and advertising official from Washington, Don Vogel, was hired to write copy for the supplement. "There's no way we wanted a puff piece, but one that faced the real problems of the District," Burns said.
Time salesmen canvassed potential advertisers and faced hesitation from some who did not want to be associated with politics. Burns said Time responded by saying that the supplement was to "be supportive" of the new administration. In the end, the ads sold generated about $45,000 in revenues and made a small profit for Time, according to Burns.
More than 3,000 reprints have been provided the Barry administration and advertisers for continuing efforts to promote business in Washington, Burns added.
Companies that advertised in the D.C. supplement were Heishman Porsche-Audi-Ferrari, Independence Federal Savings and Loan, Saks Fifth Avenue, the Sheraton-Carlton hotel, area Mercedes-Benz dealers, International Business Services, Johnston, Lemon & Co., ADV Inc. (an ad agency headed by Vogel), McDonald's, Bank of Columbia, Amtrak, Ft. Lincoln New Town, the Madison and Dolley Madison hotels, Washington Star, ABL Associates, National Bank of Washington, Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., Shannon & Luchs and the six Rosenthal auto dealerships.