Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A print ad for the people (?), by the people.

This spread ad, in the May 2010 issue of Real Simple, blew my little media-planner mind.

"We surf the internet.
We swim in magazines.

The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping.
The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you. The Internet is impulsive. Magazines are immersive. And both media are growing.

Barely noticed amidst the thunderous Internet clamor is the simple fact that magazine readership has risen over the past five years. Even in the age of the Internet, even among groups one would assume are most singularly hooked on digital media, the appeal of magazines is growing.

Think of it this way: during the 12-year life of Google, magazine readership actually increased 11 percent.

What it proves, once again, is that a new medium doesn't necessarily displace an old one. Just as movies didn't kill radio. Just as TV didn't kill movies. An established medium can continue to flourish so long as it continues to offer a unique experience. And, as reader loyalty and growth demonstrate, magazines do.

Which is why people aren't giving up swimming, just because they also enjoy surfing."

To whom are they speaking? To me, the marketer? It certainly seems that way. And, who are "they"?

Taking a closer look at the logo, I see the M from TIME, the G from Rolling Stone, the Z from Harper's Bazaar, and the Es from Esquire. Time Inc, Wenner Media, Hearst and Hearst. [I'm a little embarrassed that I don't recognize the others offhand. Shame on me.]

As it turns out, "they" are the Magazine Publishers of America, including five of the largest publishers in the US - add Conde Nast and Meredith to my list above.

This print campaign will be rolling out in 100 magazines over the next few months.

I totally agree with the message, definitely. But, this campaign feels a little weird to me.

It's a little defensive, no? If the magazine industry is really doing so well, which I believe that it is, why do you need a campaign about it?

You're preaching to the choir. Putting an ad for reading magazines in a magazine seems a little redundant. Plus, the language sounds like you're pitching to media planners, what with the statistics and using words like "readership". Are you going for general public with this? Has the general public even thought about it, and should you be alerting them to the fact that the industry might be in trouble, even though it's not? Seems a little fuddled.

Definitely an eye-catching ad, and an interesting initiative. I'm interested in seeing what kind of impact it has on the industry, if at all.


  1. The big A is from vanity fair! The other a is stumping me... parents?

  2. You're so right about the A! Bless you for commenting, I think you're keeping my readership alive. A million thank-yous :)

  3. my pleasure! :) some insightful reads here.

  4. one of my favorites to date

  5. "M" from Time, "A" from Vanity Fair, "G" from Rolling Stone, "A" from Entertainment Weekly, "Z" from Harper's Bazaar, "I" from Marie Claire, "N" from Fortune, and "ES" from Esquire.

    You're right it feels wierd. They're taking a page (ha!) from newspapers. I mocked the newspapers a few months ago in a post

  6. btw -- I'm not smart enought to know where all the fonts came from

  7. Nice! You and I are always on the same page, it seems. Thanks for the link, I was like WOW he's good! ;)

  8. According to the video/spot, total combined readership is 300MM in a world in which there are nearly 400MM active Facebook users.

    Sure, I get it. Magazines are not going to be destroyed by the Web. But they're not going to be among the top tier of media "channels" anymore either. They're going where the Internet once was: into a niche. And that often feels a lot like driving into a ditch.