The Columbus Dispatch Outsources Its Admaking To India

Holy smokes. Could this be the start of something big? From The Columbus Dispatch, reporting on itself:

The Dispatch Printing Company has contracted with an Elgin, Ill., graphic-design company to create ads for The Dispatch’s advertising clients, allowing for greater efficiency and more rapid turnaround.
About 90 positions will be eliminated as a result of the contract with Affinity Express Inc. The displaced employees, many of whom will work through next April, will be offered a severance and benefits package, as well as assistance in finding a new job.
Affinity provides similar graphic-design services for numerous other companies, including The Los Angeles Times, Lands’ End, Staples, Advo, Ikon Office Solutions Inc., Xerox Corp. and FedEx Kinko’s Office and Print Service Inc.
Most of the graphic-design work done for those companies is handled by some of Affinity’s 550 employees who work in Pune, India. Advertisements created for The Dispatch will be created there as well.

Okay, I’m going to step in the shit right now: Can Indian graphic designers write and design ads that will be in correct and proper (or proper enough) American English? Or is this going to be as fraught with frustration as customer service funneled through India usually is?
Someone get Lou Dobbs on the case. Soon, ad people won’t be able to afford their black Armani outfits anymore.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Uhh Danny, most of the educated workforce in India has a graduate degree, will work for a fraction of what US workers will, and learn not only English, but dialectical English (accents, slang, vernacular in general) in order to be customer service reps. With the availability of graduate-level candidates, I would imagine their English would be consistently better than someone producing it in the US for a similar destination (newspaper print ads). I’m not sure about the experiences you’ve had with Indian call reps, but I imagine that when you can run a spell check, grammar check, and potentially reverse-outsource for editorial checking, it will be cheaper, and better produced than in the US. I’m off to get my helmet…

  2. skyview satellite says:

    I think it is the start of something big. And if capital can move that quickly it is important for labor to be able to as well. If talented graphic designers want to leave the country, it should be just as easy for them. America is the ideal country for either the inheritors of vast intergenerational wealth or impoverished immigrants. Everybody in between better get a passport and start hustling.

  3. what’s so hard to believe? manufacturers are already outsourcing everything to foreign countries. producing an ad for the columbus dispatch can’t be any more difficult than assembling a pair of nikes. probably easier.

  4. Hmmm… Not so interesting a tid bit. Outsourcing in every field ( to india ) has been happening for a while now. Even for the slightly more demanding jobs ( legal processes, accounting, etc ).
    550 people working out of a Pune office seems like a small number. Compared to the number you’d need for a Citibank Investments Process or an HP Printer Support Line, it’s a very teensy weensy number.
    If the number of jobs is small and remuneration good, you can get very good quality talent in India ( which is willing to familiarise itself with American English, for a very small cost ). Why typical customer support isn’t so great is because it’s a bulk job.
    If you compare how much this process costs and work it backwards to a per hour / per employee cost and compare with the HP/Citibank info, you’ll get a decent idea about the quality you can expect.

  5. Hey, these are all great comments, but based on my experience in the US, it doesn’t matter where you outsource the fucking writing to. The vast majority of newspaper readers in the US can’t read anyway. And if it doesn’t have a picture of Brittney and K-Fed at the top, they turn the page. That’s if they’ve bought a paper with a page to turn.