“We HATE the Zephyr, but we LOVE the ads!”
For 20 years, The Zephyr was a print publication. We needed almost $5000 in revenue each issue just to break even. The printing cost alone, for 15,000 copies, was over $2500. Consequently, we had to sell a lot of ads.
I started drawing these “cartoon ads” even in the pre-Zephyr days when I worked briefly for the “Stinking Desert Gazette.” The businesses loved them and even liked the humor (most of the time). It got to the point where many of my advertisers would give me no instructions at all regarding content. They’d only say, “It better be funny.” Trying to be ‘funny’ for almost 70 ads was a challenge. My success rate depends on who you ask.
And the readers loved them. I was constantly told that Zephyr followers read the ADS in each issue, cover to cover. Once they’d checked out all the ads, they’d come back to the content and maybe read some of them. I never knew whether I should be flattered that they liked my doodles, or slash my wrists…JS
Here is a sampling…
Tom Arnold came to Moab in the 1960s and, until his death in 2007, took pride in being the proverbial ‘fly-in-the-ointment.’ Not only was he a VW mechanic, he was a wicked poker player, a pilot, a pundit, and a philosopher.
The Jell-o caption refers to Utah’s most beloved dessert and some believe official ‘state fruit.’
As the Zephyr’s editorial stance on Industrial Tourism ate into our ad revenues, and we sought ways to keep the Zephyr alive, we initiated the ‘Zephyr Backbone’ in 2002. This was the first edition.
One time part-owner Dirk Vaughan penned an essay for the Zephyr in April 2001. The theme of that seminal issue was ‘It’s Time to Look in the Mirror.’ His contribution, titled ‘Not All Pimps Use Platform Shoes,’ asked “How does a recreation-based company honor its commitment to environmental values?”
In 1994, the Zephyr received an unsolicited contribution from one of its readers, Seattle resident Dan O’Connor. I was so pleased with his creative skills and powers of observation, that he became a regular Zephyr contributor. A collection of Dan’s best ‘tabloids’ will be in a forthcoming issue as we celebrate our 30th year.
Some of our ads got a little risque at times. It was once rumored that some of our Mormon readers often read the Zephyr in the privacy of the stockroom at Dave’s Corner Market, so that none of their brothers and sisters would know of their bad habit.
Speaking of which…
This was supposed to be another ‘funny’ cartoon ad, but the mainstream media in Salt Lake City took it seriously. If I recall, KSL TV contacted Marooney and wanted to do a feature story. They were devastated when they realized it was a joke.
Bar none…Roger Travis made some of the best smoked meat we’ve ever tasted.
Kim Schappert owned a bike shop and tour company. She was one of Moab’s early Industrial Recreation entrepreneurs. Her optimism about Grand County’s future was based on the premise that Moab could become a major ‘tourist destination’ with all the infrastructure and accoutrements that go with it. As the millennium began, the newly-elected councilperson was instrumental in creating the ‘New Moab’ that we see today.
David Knutson was the incumbent commissioner when the Zephyr first took wings in 1989. He was a conservative Republican and we didn’t agree on much of anything, especially the proposed Book Cliffs Highway, but I considered him a friend and appreciated his honesty and candor. When one of his detractors called him a “gnarly dude,” Knutson took it as a compliment and included it in his Zephyr campaign ad. The gentleman on the right is former governor Norm Bangerter.
Lin Ottinger owned one of Moab’s early tour companies and is still operating today, though he takes a dim view of what’s happened to Moab.
Lu Warner took issue with the self-promoting tactics of another tourist-related business in Moab, and used his ad space to vent a little, (or a lot.) The story of his complaint is below:
Decades before the #MeToo movement, the Zephyr was recording acts of insurrection by the female population of Moab, Utah.
As the Zephyr expressed its growing alarm about the runaway Mountain Bike explosion in Moab, Rim Cyclery began to find Stiles’ editorials somewhat irritating. Robin Groff, in particular, wanted to know why they should pay for ads in a newspaper that loathed the sport to which they were dedicated. It was a fair point. I finally agreed to do a cartoon in which Robin ‘beats the crap out of me.’ I thought a cartoon would be better than the real thing.
In 2000 the country was embroiled in a debate over the Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez. The six year-old had come to Florida in a small boat with his mother and others, but she drowned. His father still lived in Cuba and wanted his son returned. It was a national story and we covered it in the inimitable Zephyr way.
The feud with Rim Cyclery continued…