The article is a story about the U.S free humorous newspaper, “The Onion”, deciding to expand into the Canadian market. The writer seeks to establish from Steve Hannah, the president and CEO of “The Onion” why they have chosen Toronto city in their first bid to expand beyond the U.S cities. “The Onion” CEO observes that, Toronto has one of the highest numbers of online readers of its satirical weekly publications.
She also identifies the character of the city and the fact that they have been covering the city for years especially during the film festival.1 Furthermore, she notes that the city’s comedic roots make Toronto a “natural choice”. Toronto Star’s acceptance to partner with “The Onion” is the principal theme of the article. The Star publisher, John Cruickshank, points out that, it is a welcome opportunity given the doors it shall open for advertisers who would like to reach young and classy Toronto dwellers.1
Humor plays a critical role in attracting and preserving the attention of a target audience in the newspaper and magazine industry, the advertisement sector which forms a fundamental link between businesses and target consumers, as well as, the presently popular online media.
Comic enthusiasts and new print media consumers are more likely to do a repeat purchase of a newspaper or a magazine that is humorous in its approach to serious societal issues, happenings and commercial activities. They are also more likely to visit the website of a humorous publication more regularly. Therefore, humorous newspapers and magazines form an ideal channel of advertising goods and products in an equally comic manner because of the possible large number of readers.
This article is closely related to the concept of comic or humor in an advertisement of goods and services conducted through the daily and weekly print publications. For this reason, “The Star” publisher John Cruickshank has termed their new partnership with The Onion as an ideal channel through which Toronto advertisers can reach the sophisticated Toronto urbanites.1
Advertising agencies across the world seeks to persuade consumers to buy products and services creatively and in tickling manner.2 In fact, a survey conducted by the Nielsen Company, a global information and media organization in year 2009 demonstrated that even though a rising percentage of consumers particularly the youth appears more engaged with online video advertisements, TV ads are still favorite among a considerable section of consumers.
However, both online video ads and TV ads consumers said they prefer ads that relay their messages humorously and in an emotionally touching and informative way.3 TV ads scored the highest marks on these three aspects and were thus said to be more engaging.
The activities mentioned in the article are no doubt going to affect investors positively. Given the already considerably commendable readership of the Onion in Toronto and new readers who will be drawn through its partnership with the Toronto Star, more consumers of different products and services advertised through the newspaper will be reached.
Such consumers will more likely be easily persuaded to buy those products and /or services because of the persuasive and engaging potential of humorously passed on commercial information. This will translate in to high sales volume and improved financial performance of the companies advertised.
1. Lu, V. The onion set to hit Toronto Newsstand this week .The Toronto Star. Toronto:
The Toronto Star [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2011 Oct 3]. Available From:
2. Andy C P. Advertising and creativity, a governance approach: a case study of
Creative agencies in London.LSE Research Online. London: London School of Economics [Internet]. 2006 [cited 2011 October 3]. Available From:
3. Nielsen Trust Advertising Global Report. Trust, Value and Engagement in Advertising. New York: Nielsen Company [Internet]. 2009 [cited 2011 Oct 3] Available from: