We Haz Verb!

Well well! Prairie dog has some more competition! It’s not just QC, the Leader-Post’s ad-poaching, fake-alt-style publication insert anymore. No, now we have Verb too! VERB, people!!!

Backing up: this morning, street boxes for a  weekly publication called Verb appeared all over Regina’s downtown. Many/most/all?? of them are chained to traffic light standards, which I’m totally sure the City of Regina is 100 per cent okay with. Because what are the chances that some goofball just dumped ’em off overnight without permission?

So, what is this Verb (that’s “Brev” backwards!) that wants to take a chunk out of prairie dog’s business? Well, it’s been published in Saskatoon for a few years now — I’ve been aware of it since it’s its website went live with a marketing kit that was almost word-for-word the same as our sister paper’s (Planet S). You can take a look here and get an idea of what Verb is all about. I think you’ll find it to be smart, funny, full of editorial integrity and wow, just beautifully-designed overall.

No seriously, look at it. Wow.

This is big news in Regina. I’ve already been interviewed about it by a journalist school student. I’m afraid I might have said a few harsh things — perhaps even the “eff” word! Then again she did gush approvingly that Verb is attractive because it’s “colourful” which might have soured my mood the teensiest, weensiest bit. (And also she may have been trying to get a rise out of me, which is what good journalists do.)

The biggest thing for me? You cannot imagine how much I’m looking forward to seeing which Regina businesses that refuse to advertise in prairie dog will advertise in Verb. Boutique furniture, clothing and audio stores? Crown corporations? Fine dining establishments? Certain unnamed Regina live theatres? This has the potential to be hilarious.

Is Verb the paper that Regina has always deserved but never had (at least since the L-P stopped publishing Kicks)? Is it time for prairie dog to throw in the towel? Comments are below. Let ‘er rip!

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

66 thoughts on “We Haz Verb!”

  1. Inquiring minds also want to know your position on Saskatoon’s latest (ad-sucking) weekly, Saskatoon Express?

    But yeah, Verb is not very attractive, or shall we say, insightful.

  2. You will LOVE IT! Pages filled with kids mugging for cameras at bars, pages filled with text messages that were allegedly sent to Verb, pages filled with week old news stories and boring puff articles. It will blow your mind.

  3. Barb: Possibly because Verb is excellent when you have a stain of indeterminate origin on your bus seat.

  4. Verb appears to make strong case for illiteracy.

    (Note: My football column composed of swear words and dated references should be up soon.)

  5. Oh my gawd, Stephen…how could you even ask the question? Of course ALL of the advertisers that refuse PDog will put ads in Verb. Sheesh! Its in COLOUR!! Its WEEKLY!! It probably has EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! But most of all, its from SASKATOON!!! Because we all know that out of town is always much better/cooler than local.

  6. Dear god Verb is uglier than whatever beastly baby was born from the affair that the worst thing to come out of my nose during a cold had with the worst thing to come out of my cornholio after eating crispy burritos at Taco Time.

  7. Boohoo, this is a wake up call to produce a better product. These two publications would not exist if the Prairie Dog did not leave much do be desired.

  8. Jesus, Whitworth. Verb’s terrible layout issues aside, what are you thinking? If those businesses didn’t want to advertise with you before they definitely aren’t going to want to now. What ever happened to being diplomatic? Or at least acting like an actual business and not burning bridges with past/prospective future clients.

    Furthermore, taking the low road when it comes to competition isn’t going to win you any fans. You don’t see the QC running articles about how the PD is a worthless rag. The Dog doesn’t need to be insecure, they aren’t carbon copies. Your product will stand out from theirs if you would just let it speak for itself.

  9. Well, it *is* colourful, which I think is great. Given the increasing amount of homelessness we seem to be encouraging, they should have something cheery to wrap themselves in on cold nights. And the lack of any serious news content will keep them from having to read about themselves or any actual, pressing issues.

    Keep a running tally of those advertisers, though: I’d love to know.

  10. Verb is a joke. It’s two week old stories about Madonna that are pulled from the wire. The only thing worse is Fine Lifestyles (if you get to write your own article for buying advertising, it’s not a credible publication! Yeesh).

  11. It’s like the Sunday Sun but with more pretentiousness and no cartoons.

    Seriously though, I’m bombarded with flashy ads all day whether I’m online or watching tv. When I read the paper, I want CONTENT and I want it without having to hunt through massive amounts of brightly coloured ads.

  12. Hilary #6: And the Star Phoenix can’t duplicate that function?
    That said, and not having seen a hard copy of “Verb”, Anon y mous #11 and Jeremy #12 make really good points.

  13. @ Barb – that’s based on the assumption that I buy the Star-Phoenix. (Although I am not above filching the occasional copy.)

  14. Quote from The Verb web page..

    The Audience

    While Verb’s style and content are not exclusive to any one
    demographic, Verb specifically targets readers 16-39 years of
    age. The target population, while not skewing male or female,
    is active in the community and has a large amount of disposable

    Gotta love the last line…(I begin to vomit)

  15. With all due respect, Stephen, you just alienated a whole list of Regina advertisers with that diatribe.

  16. Rosie: Not in the slightest, though I guess I’ve given the non-advertising ‘dog-haters out there in the biz community a new excuse to pretend they leave PD off their ad buys for legitimate reasons. Who cares about phantom ads? I’m proud to edit a paper that a few stick-up-butt people feel so strongly about they decide to boycott it. Lots of real businesses love prairie dog. We’ll be fine.

    (Any business interested in advertising in Regina’s liveliest publication or its website should e-mail sales@prairiedogmag.com. You’ll reach actual Saskatchewan readers, as you can plainly see from our lively blog)

  17. Whether the writing is good or not, IT’S JUST MORE GARBAGE FOR THE LANDFILL! I’ve seen these daily papers like this, intended for people on long public transit commutes. This crap ends up EVERYWHERE ~ blowing through the streets, crumpled up on buses, scattered thru the mall. Because it has no value, no one keeps it…no one values it, so it quickly becomes *garbage*.

  18. Paris has “Joie de Vivre”, Regina and Saskatoon have “Joie de Verb”. What’s wrong with that?

  19. As a weekly, the minimal amount of local content in this is going to get old fast. Day 1: Cool! Day 2: Ho-hum. Day 3: Gawd… Day 4: RAGE. Days 5-7: “I hate Capitalism” Repeat.

  20. #6 Funny!
    #16 Agree, but I don’t read SP, & can’t comment.
    #18/#21 According to the 2 photos, that box is placed right in front of their target audience at Vicky & Hammy.
    Quote ; Artie Johnson “Very Interesting”.

    #23 y
    #24 N

  21. The Saskatoon Verb has been full of full colour, out-of-date, misleading crap for awhile here now, sadly.
    Our latest issues don’t even list who publishes it. No one wants to be named?
    Also to note on the web site, one of the editors shares a last name with one of the old-timers who writes for the SP.
    Its just the SP, the Enquirer version.
    All washed up.

  22. It’s all about selling ad space first – making money – and information a forgotten second. making money is okay, but by mocking journalism is not okay.

  23. Whoah, that’s an interesting strategy. Might be worth taking a step back and looking at what an advertising only revenue generating business model is all about. While you’re at it, take a step back and look at why businesses advertise.

    I have seen no shortage of occasions where businesses pull advertising only to realize that the advertising was actually working. If the businesses you’re passive aggressively calling out did, in fact, boycott PD for questionable reasons and haven’t come back, maybe it wasn’t working for them? Advertising is not an expense for a business, but an investment for one reason only: to make more money. If they’re not making money from advertising they’re either in the wrong medium or the medium they chose isn’t doing a great job with creative or content. Either way, its likely your fault on some level and I’d advise you to give some careful consideration of where things went wrong or why they might not have been a great fit in the first place.

    Remember, no business in this city owes you a living. Being bitter towards them in the face of competition does not bode well for the future of the Prairie Dog.

  24. Prairie dog readers don’t owe Regina businesses their business either, R.J. Our readers will support the places that support us. We have lots of terrific advertisers.

  25. This doesn’t seem to me like an offensive. Prairie Dog often critiques stuff in Regina. This is more of the same and if they think the paper is a piece of crap, fine. I’ve also seen them insult Nickelback, Tim Horton’s and WalMart…what do all these things have in common? They suck. I am willing to accept their assertion that Verb sucks too. If it does, it should be ripped so they get the message and do something that isn’t wasting space….I guess we’ll find out. If it’s pretty good, then I will suggest praire dog is being a weiner dog.

  26. Well, we don’t compete with Wal-Mart and Nickelback for revenue so it is a little different. But if Verb Regina turns out to be great I will happily eat crow.

  27. The first time I picked up a copy of Verb, I was immediately disappointed as 4 out of 5 snippets pulled from the net were old news already.
    They must have caught on to that, because it quickly became a rag brimming with pages of people at bars in the city.

    A glorified fb? Is it the 15 minute fame grab?

    Now they have features where gossip is passed off as fact, and sunk it even deeper into a hillbilly tabloid.

  28. Why cant you closed minded Regina old fashioned people give something new a chance. Prairie Dog is for old people.

  29. #38 At what age did I start to become , Old ? 27? 10 years outta High school? 30?

    Something new, would be Online,( is that a real word? on-line? ) only. Or Holographs..on buses.

    Please enlighten me with an reply.

    Steve,a little bit of paint, a stencil set, new PD boxes..
    Or just go with the graffiti tag look.

  30. Oh Sweet, something to package my stuff with when I move this week. :D

    The god of packaging have looked down upon me and supplied me with some great material to package with.

  31. WOW! Verb is colourful!! Thanks for sharing

    Just kidding! We love the Prairie Dog at our house. We live about an hour from the city and whenever one of us comes to Regina, the rule is that we don’t come home without the new issue of the Prairie Dog. Looks to me like Verb will be approaching issues from a very different angle- one that is much closer to “right” which means it’s a no-go at our house!

  32. On a side note, that orange is oddly dead on with the NDP’s shade of orange. Everytime I drive by one I subconsciously think it’s NDP campaign advertising. So I guess not entirely useless but entirely ironic.

  33. Just picked up and perused a copy of Verb Regina. It’s nothing to write home about, but significantly, The Creek in Cathedral,The Fainting Goat, the Sask Science Centre, The Club/The Exchange, Paddock Wood Brewing Co., all of whom advertise in the PD, also advertise in Verb. No fools, they. Also, Verb was present in an establishment where PD used to be but not longer is.
    Food for thought.

  34. With regards to comment #18, it is true that the demographic with the greatest amount of disposible income is teens ages 13-18 who are often still living with their parents and have few expenses…I hope you made it to the toilet before soiling your carpet/laminate floor/linoleum. Also, I’m a loyal reader of Prairie Dog, but find the sarcastic slander of verb boring…like a child who feels threatened by the new kid in class.

  35. Yes Brent and the part about them being “active in the community”… in what ways would that be I wonder?

    All you gotta do to be in their paper is be drinking in a bar.

    Active, ohyes.

  36. NUMBER 39 you are not hip and young if you read prairie dog so dont read Verb it is not for you. Secondly it is a NEW publication to Regina I think that is clear…. dont know what you dont get.

  37. Gayle–While the 14-18yr olds often have the greatest amount of disposable income, the 19-39 demographic are the ones most active in the community. It is this group who most frequently attend live concerts, theatre, open-mike nights, art shows and a variety of other cultural events that make Regina the city that it is. The comment made by #18 is clearly passionate, but simply wrong.

  38. i only ask because the appeal to youth & hipness is a classically despicable marketing maneuver – it reeks of desperation from the people pitching it and from the people who buy it.

    young people who are actually, truly hip (meaning not nightlife types, but the people interested in the consumption and production of genuinely interesting culture for its own sake as opposed to for commodification) do, in fact, read the prairie dog. and they may wind up reading verb. but that’s not an argument for its quality.

  39. Sounds like someone shouldn’t eat so many sour grapes before writing. So there’s another free newspaper in town. If you have a good product, you have nothing to worry about.

  40. Hi Myrna


    So I’m not hip, even when I read a copy of Ex@laim ??

    My Mum’s 2x my age. I’m still young.

  41. Barb Saylor, I am the Manager of Marketing & Communications at the Saskatchewan Science Centre. My other comments on this blog are my own opinion, but this one is on behalf of the Science Centre: we did not buy an ad in Verb. I was, however, contacted by Alex MacPherson and interviewed about our Titanic exhibition. I look forward to reading the article.

    I haven’t picked up the publication yet so I’m not sure how your mistake happened.

    Unlike some publications in the city, Verb does not seem to confuse editorial content with advertising. I know there are several other pubs who sell editorial space, but Verb doesn’t seem to be one of them. In our case, at least, it was straight up arts reporting, not advertising.


  42. Anyone who understands the important aspects about running a successful business would read #53 and ignore the rest.

  43. 49 …..No I dont work for verb just like to see new things be given a chance…
    these people all so worked up if you dont like it dont read it. But realize others might enjoy it.

  44. 52 glad that you are young and read Prairie Dog and like it. Nothing wrong with that it just seems to me it caters to seniors. And thats fine too,nobody should be telling anyone else what to read. Maybe some seniors will read Verb and give it a chance unlike some of the younger folks on here.

  45. It might be really colourful and pretty but when I brought it into my home it off-gassed, so it was too smelly to read!

  46. Yes, Collette (#53), you’re right; my mistake. On digging the copy out of the Blue Box, I noted that this was a feature article – and a good one – not an ad. I’m looking forward to seeing the Titanic exhibition, once the dust settles around here.

  47. Here’s a question for all of you. What does Verb bring to Regina that is new or unique? Is there a reason to read it. Is there at least interesting writing? I see nothing in there that is news to me. Why would i waste my time if it gives me a boring story on the science centre movie….which was really a glorified ad (though not paid for). BORING. Let me guess, now the Science Centre will advertise in Verb because they did some butt kissing. Ick. This reminds me of a small town newspaper from back home. Gross.

  48. Kevlikev (#59), actually the Titanic exhibit is not a movie. It’s a museum installation that features real artifacts from the Titanic, recovered from the ocean floor. It’s been getting rave reviews!

    But more importantly, we don’t buy advertising based on who is nice to us. We buy advertising based on what makes good business sense. As a non-profit, we don’t have the money to throw around based on favours and kind words. It’s just not how things work.

  49. i didn’t see any mention of library voices or rah rah so that’s always a fuckin’ plus.

  50. i sincerely enjoy the ‘dog and its wit and thinking person’s material. the community events type stuff is great too. the “verb” however i find flashy and void of substance. they claim themselves that they aim for a shopper, not a thinker.not cool. verb brings nothing new and wastes precious resources. i wont empty their boxes into the garbage(my girlfriend did once)but i wont bother reading a second issue. go dog go.

  51. Agreed, Charles.
    What is disconcerting about the rag is when they attempt to pass off “feature” stories as news, when they are nothing more than skewed opinions.

    They look like news pieces; they even almost kind of read like them. I believe my first comment addressed that.
    When presented to their apparent “dumbed-down” demographics, would be accepted as news. No, not cool.

  52. Hi.

    #56 Thanx,I”ll take that as a complement,
    but seniors reading v**b ? .. only if there is a relevent coupon involved.

    #61 lol

  53. I agree with what was already said… taking the low road, and bashing competition is not going to get you any more readers, and doesn’t reflect well on Prairie Dog.

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