Nikon adNikon was one of the first advertisers in the magazine with its sponsorship of the First Glace page in our Spring 2000 issue.
We did not create our magazine to carry advertisements. Yet, how could we say no to businesses who wanted to pay to be on our pages? At the very least we could be selective about who we allowed in. Of course, a photographic equipment manufacturer is a natural fit for a beautiful, geographic-style magazine. So, how do you get to talk to Nikon or Canon?
Easy! You send your extremely polite, introverted husband to Toronto to meet with the sales and marketing heads of the big camera companies. Actually, being a team of two, he was the only one available. Our family was still young and the kids needed their mother at home. Plus, Lionel had lived in TO for a few years and had friends he could visit. So, off he went.
The classy thing to do when going to meet with executives is to arrive at a reasonable hour and take a leisurely taxi ride to one's meetings. Well, that just wasn't our style (actually, it was more of a budget issue.) We opted to walk to appointments carrying large suitcases containing heavy magazines. A little sweat on the brow can send a healthy message!
We had made phone contact with Nikon weeks prior to Lionel's departure, laying the groundwork for an official sponsorship of our First Glance page in the magazine. Further, we had hoped to secure a sponsor for an ongoing photo contest, possibly in collaboration with Don's Photo. But none of this was certain and Lionel's meeting would determine whether a deal would be made.
The Nikon office was located in Mississauga requiring a series of trains, buses and walking to get there. It was a cold spring day and Lionel only had his suit to make a fine first impression, no overcoat. He arrived frozen at the extremities, dusty, and worked out.
Jan Armour not only had a lovely name, but also a lovely personality. She greeted Lionel at the Nikon office like a lost friend and welcomed him in. Noticing how cold he was, she offered him a cup of hot coffee and a spot to store his suitcase during their meeting. They had a great conversation about family, life on the farm, and Toronto while the blood started to flow again in Lionel's body.
This wasn't the cut-throat advertising environment we had been warned about—and good thing for Lionel. He had no idea how to sell an ad. His one line pitch was that we had about 4,500 subscribers, many of whom are photographers, and we thought Nikon would be a good fit. That was it.
We know it wasn't our slick presentation. It might have been the state Lionel was in when he got there that pulled Jan's heart strings. But unbelievably, he left the Nikon office that day with a full sponsorship of our First Glance page for the year and an annual photo contest.
After he had warmed up and come to his senses, Lionel ended his career in ad sales and never looked back. For him, once he had broken into the big ad bank at the top, it was kind of a "been there, done that" sort of thing.