LAT ♥ Weinsteins; Weinsteins ♥ LAT

hweins.jpgVariety‘s Jonathan Bing looks at the free full-page ad the LAT gave The Weinstein Company last week as a house-warming gift– the kind of ad space that usually costs around $50,000.

As promotional freebies go, this one had enormous upside for the Weinstein Co., serving as an advance ad for next month’s American Film Market, where the Weinsteins are expected to hawk foreign rights to a number of projects. It also helped enhance the company’s profile at a pivotal moment, as it negotiates the last of its deals with financial partners.

But the ad also crossed a line most newspaper advertisers would rather not transgress, subverting the usual relationship between ad buyer and seller, and thereby jeopardizing the value of the surrounding real estate. And it raised hackles among other advertisers. “It’s in bad taste,” one studio marketer told me. “They have an obligation to support all their advertisers. What are they going to do for me?”

If the point was to curry favor with this new advertiser (at a time when movie studio advertising may be in decline), it seems to have worked:

“All it did was endear the L.A. Times to me,” [Harvey] Weinstein said of last week’s ad. “I’m going to remember them, and whatever the cost of that one ad is, they’ll probably get it back 50 times over.”

So: the LAT solidifies its relationship with a potentially lucrative advertiser. Not a bad move. Maybe Weinstein will even sign up for a subscription or two.

(link via Romenesko)