Congratulations to PacRep. my personal favorite local theater company, for its stellar marketing campaign to promote its production of "The Blue Room." It certainly got what it needed from The Herald.
A couple of days before the May 28 opening of the show, we were told of a "late ad" that would be running on the front page of The Herald. Whatever. The folks in the newsroom don't actually see the advertisements before they get in the paper. But about 10:30 that night, our copy desk got a call from someone upstairs, in the production department, asking if anyone was aware that a woman's naked butt was scheduled to appear on the front page.
The production guy sent down a copy of the ad, our assistant city editor appropriately flipped, and she called her bosses at home to figure out what do do with the woman's posterior. Since none of us had actually seen the bare-assed ad, the assistant city editor was told to use her discretion. So she pulled the thing.
She was hailed as a Herald Hero for doing so -- and PacRep had its Eureka! moment for its follow-up ads. The Blue Room! A Production Too Hot for The Herald to Handle! The local weeklies had a great time of it, accusing The Herald of being censorial prudes, pointing out that the depiction of undressed buttocks was the work of a noted photographer, etc.
It seems like a silly thing to defend, the removal of exposed tush from the front page. But I think the assistant city editor made the correct call. She, for one, is not offended by exposed cheek action, but figured the majority of readers probably aren't prepared to confront a naked butt when they open their daily newspaper. Here on the Monterey Peninsula, people get so riled up that they call me to complain because they think Adam@Work is too racy, that the general's secretary in Beetle Bailey is profoundly sexist.
And what if, next time, the depiction of bare ass is not the artistic and shapely bottom of a model? What if PacRep chose instead to present an Andres Serrano photograph of the hairy, flabby keister of a middle-age man to promote its next show?
If I was promoting PacRep, I'd give it a try. It certainly got a lot of marketing mileage out of The Blue Room's tush.