Local Newspaper Experience Opens Door To Success

Warsaw Woman Makes Good In Field Of Advertising

Editor's Note: Miss Charlotte Marie Butler, daughter of Mrs. Charles A. Butler, of 210 North Buffalo street, left Our Town five years ago to enter one of the most highly competitive fields--advertising-in Fort Wayne. Today, she is a promotion coordinator for South Gate Plaza, a new 39-store shopping center there. Miss Butler worked 13 years for the Times-Union first as a society editor and Our Town reporter; the last seven years she was a member of the advertising staff. In those 13 years, she learned a great deal about the newspaper and advertising games. It is to this experience she attributes her present success. She believes that the profession has much to offer young people, wonders why more do not enter it. Miss Butler was a familiar figure here; everyone called her by her first name. She had a "nose for news," covering the town like a blanket. Ambitious and energetic, she was a good advertising woman, knew her work well. The bigness of Fort Wayne did not intimidate her. It was a challenge. Not only is she fast becoming a successful businesswoman, but she is a part of the city's civic life. Miss Butler attends the Fort Wayne Trinity Episcopal church, is a charter member of the Fort Wayne Press and Advertising clubs; was recently appointed to the advisory board of the public information committee of the American Red Cross; teaches swimming at the "Ys", and in the summer assists the Red Cross and City of Fort Wayne with the learn-to-swim program. In her spare time, she reads, golfs, swims, fishes and is now taking fencing lessons, Some day, she hopes to write light happy material similar to the style of Cornelia Otis Skinner or Emily Kimbrough. She has an amusing way of expressing herself, as you will see when you read the following article in which she tells about her work.


What is a promotion coordinator? This question is pelted at me by someone at least once a day, and on occasion by an agency account executive who's supposed to recognize a title by the thickness of the embossing on a business card.

This almost singular gold-plated moniker was suggested by a very good friend and despite the anxieties it has cost me in sweat and blood, he is still a very good friend.

Before launching into the trials, tribulations and transgressions of a "promotion coordinator," I'm back-tracking firstly.

Fresh from high school I went to work as society editor for the Warsaw Times-Union. Six years later I was transferred to the display advertising department as assistant. At the same time I was salesman, continuity writer and disc jockey for the newspaper-owned radio station, WRSW. In my spare time, I also helped to teach others newspaper display sales, layout; radio sales, copy-writing and programming.

In 1951 with a spirit of adventure I left Warsaw and went to Fort Wayne, where I went to work in the advertising department of a large store. It was there that I decided to go into the advertising agency business on my own.

Four years later braving the competition of big agencies, I set up shop in the rear office of a tailoring area neighborhood menswear store. This emporium belonged to my very good friend who's responsible for me being in this business in the first place, and he was kind enough to take me in out of the cold, furnish me with a desk and typewriter and the use of the phone, And, him I also thank for putting one of my feet through the door of a 51-membership area business association.

I worked with these wonderful people for nearly two years, and then like everything else that spreads from the West coast, the mid-west was catching the shopping center bug. My friend also helped me put my foot in the door here and very soon I was "on location," working out the grand-opening promotion for a sparkling new 39-store shopping center, South Gate Plaza, right at home.

About January 15, 1956 was my first day at the new office. There was little or no heat or furniture in the office and no phone for over a week. I was "keeper of the keys" (approximately 170 of them); the office was a warehouse for incoming freight, mostly fixtures and over 20 cases of sliced dill pickles, I interviewed hucksters from the newspaper display advertising department, all four radio station representatives, salesmen from both TV stations, and there was an exodus of outdoor advertising salesmen, taxi-cab advertising salesmen, vending machine salesmen, specialty salesmen, exterior decorating people, circus performers from home and abroad, and once there were seven trained dogs and a pony awaiting their turn outside the office door!

In the meantime I was designing and directing the art work for a series of teaser ads for newspaper and TV, organizing an 18-page special newspaper section, writing TV and radio interviews, writing news releases for newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, interviewing managers, assistant managers, top brass from out-of-town and running an employment agency. All this amid the din of hammers, saws and the unique profanity of the laboring man of which there were now only about 40 eating lunches beyond the nearest plaster-board partition.

Grand opening was postponed and we missed the Easter b-o-o-m. When the center did open in April, it was bitterly cold, miserable, in fact, the weather wasn't worth this paragraph.

And, with no building superintendent on the premises my office soon became "G.C.H." (General Complaint Headquarters) regarding: Furnaces needed oil, furnaces not heating properly, sagging doors, leaking roofs, trash removal, window washing, flag raising and lowering, police supervision of parking area, painting of parking spaces for 2,500-car lot, insufficient lights in parking lot, photo-electric cell on parking lot lights not functioning properly, public address system not loud enough (store managers).

Our neon sign kept the neighbors awake nights shining in their windows, placement of drop box and pick-up mail box and rescheduling of foot mail routes and parcel post delivery to correspond with our store hours, the forming of a businessmen's association composed of managers, complete with corporate papers, by-laws, election of officers, keeping association books and meeting minutes, paying our bills, paying our night guard, paying police supervision on parking lot, paying me, making out quarterly income tax reports, installation of under-canopy signs, registering our bowling team, ordering their personalized shirts, phoning for repairs on our power sweeper, replacement of lamp bulbs in the parking lot, and ordering 5000 feet of hose for landscape watering.

There were some late-openers in the Plaza and I planned and executed their respective newspaper, radio and TV campaigns. I have painted, washed windows, swept, mopped, waxed and buffed. I answer the many phone calls to my office regarding the purchase of specific merchandise. I have conferred with firemen regarding trash burning, the painting of water hydrants for night-time visibility so some unwary motorist customer doesn't pick one off driving in our parking areas. I have my Red Cross instructor's rating and my office is used as a first aid station. I'm also the lost-and-found department from roller skates to children. I've used my little jalopy to push and pull cars from mud and snow.

For the majority of the shopping center stores I do their newspaper layout and copy, radio continuity and TV art work, production, etc. I'm assigned to every committee within the merchants' association and send out bills for promotion assessment so there's always money in the kitty.

I do check writing, run to the bank for store change, carry-in food for too-busy-to-get-away managers, occasionally clerk in a pinch, make emergency announcements over the P.A. system; keep an up-to-date list of managers' name addresses and phone numbers for police, fire departments and the rental agent. I am on 24-hour emergency call and I keep praying to God that I won't collapse.

We have successfully promoted a free public square dance; pioneer (antique) and sports care show, a Navy show and swearing-in service for 64 recruits, our United Fund campaign, found, cut, trucked, anchored and lighted the largest Christmas tree in the area; Santa and free gifts for children; several special newspaper sections and a free bus to the shopping center.

Right now I'm swinging into the anniversary sale, a mobile home show, new car show, free acts, another pioneer and sports car show, free public square dances, etc. There's more, but by now you have the general idea of "what IS a promotion coordinator" or what a promotion coordinator IS. This one is slightly overworked. But, I love it!

  Miss Butler in the above picture works on a forth-coming promotion in the studio at the Plaza. Adjoining the studio is the office proper. On one wall hang pictures of celebrities, including Warsaw's own Hobart Creighton whom Mis Butler has always admired. She says that quite a few people from Warsaw in the past year have dropped in to visit, and that it is always a pleasure to see folks from home. 

Warsaw Times-Union Saturday, March 16, 1957

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