11Recognize Contributions

DENNIS NARCISO WAS NEW TO HIS JOB AS Time Warner's marketing director. With ambitious market penetration goals in Kansas City, he was looking for a creative, high-impact way to attract new cable TV subscribers. Dennis was brainstorming with Leon Toon, his newspaper advertising sales rep, when the big idea started to take shape. What they imagined had never been done and would change newspaper advertising forever. It would take time, commitment, and a lot of mutual support. “There were two different machines we had to bring together if we wanted to make it happen,” says Leon. “It wasn't easy, but we really wanted it.”

What Leon and Dennis wanted was to place full-page advertisements on the front page of The Kansas City Star's weekly TV listings section. At the time, ads did not appear on front pages. It was a violation of everything sacred in journalism. Leon knew it would be an uphill battle. He persevered, with encouragement from Dennis, because he adamantly believed their idea would solve several problems. The section was a reader favorite, but it hadn't been profitable in years. Having a weekly sponsor would help keep the TV listings section off the chopping block.

Months later, after some back-and-forth internal negotiations for both of them, they received conditional go-ahead approval. Leon and Dennis had to come to terms on the program specifics and pricing, but both focused on creating a mutually beneficial solution. “We were negotiating hard ...

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