About 15 years ago, I was starting my career as a media buyer at a big ad agency in the UK. Basically, I was a junior in the team that booked the space in newspapers for the agency’s various big-brand clients.
Most brands would buy their advertising a few weeks in advance, but retailers would normally be more last minute to try to react to what their competitors were doing.
A normal Friday morning, 9:02 am, my phone rings:
Client: (panicked) I’ve got today’s newspaper in my hand, and our main competitor has ads in all of them, and their sales promotion is better than ours.
Me: OK, I see. Do you need me to try and get some space in tomorrow’s papers for us to respond?
Client: Tomorrow is too late! I need you to get us into today’s papers!
Me: We, erm, can’t buy ads in this morning’s papers.
Client: (now furious) Why not?! This is what we pay you for!
Me: …because they’ve already been, well, printed.
Client: What do you mean?
Me: The newspapers you are holding in your hand right now have already been printed. That’s how you’re able to hold them in your hand. We can’t change something that has already been printed.
Client: OK, so could you get us some space in tomorrow’s papers?