From the US to NZ – Adding Magazine Power
In March 2010 a unique joint venture project began in America. Fiercely competitive magazine publishing giants Time Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith Corp., and Wenner Media formed a co-operative to promote the vitality of magazines as a medium.
They launched a pan-publisher advertising campaign called ‘Magazines: the Power of Print’, creatively executed by Y&R New York, that for a six month period ran in over 100 of their consumer magazines, reaching 112 million readers per month.
It was one of the largest print advertising campaigns ever created in the USA,
as outlined here: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/magazines/42679/
Back in New Zealand…
the Magazine Publishers Association contacted Jon Ramage at Y&R in Auckland to discuss the approach that Y&R New York had taken in the campaign. Many of the international magazines the American ads appeared in are widely distributed in New Zealand, and MPA members were very happy to see this high quality campaign receiving exposure here, showing the value, popularity and longevity of magazines.
However there was a feeling in New Zealand that the magazine market, in terms of both readers and advertisers, had some key differences to that of America. For instance, there’s no question that New Zealand publishers are comfortable engaging audiences in a variety of mediums, and are not threatened by the internet. Youth demographics are not an issue, and different retail, distribution and subscriptions channels create a different market environment here. Therefore, some additional and alternative messages might need to be reinforced.
In 2010, Y&R commissioned a research project through research company Buzz Channel which confirmed this. The project identified some market perceptions to address with marketing managers and media buyers. It also showed agencies and advertisers agreeing that in general magazines are relevant, engaging, educational, inspirational and effective. Top-of-mind views on magazines included that magazines are a treat, a luxury, a form of escapism and content is generally intelligent, interesting, informative and entertaining.
The key strengths of magazine advertising from an agency perspective were the ability to target markets and engage and involve readers using a high quality, visually inspiring and tactile media. Agencies felt there was a good range of segmented titles to choose from and magazine advertising was viewed as creative, eye-catching, and impactful.
However there were some areas where some agencies and advertisers had concerns such as measuring return on investment. There was a feeling the magazine industry, comprising thousands of local titles, could do a better job of ‘speaking with one voice’ and telling its story.
The research kicked off a successful working partnership between MPA and Y&R NZ resulting in New Zealand’s magazine industry being poised to now roll out its own advertising campaign, albeit on a smaller scale to that in America. The theme of the campaign is “Add Magazines: Magazines Add”, and will be supported by information on the new MPA website www.mpa.org.nz. The message being that by adding magazines to a campaign, advertisers will add extra reach and dimensions they might otherwise miss out on.
It is recognised that most advertisers need to utilise a variety of media to effectively reach their various audience segments. What is sometimes overlooked is that adding magazines to the media mix can provide a return on investment that is proportionately much higher than the return from the same spend in other media.
Printed magazine advertising works extremely well on several levels because:
1/. Magazines have the ability to tightly target and fully engage an audience (most people are focused while reading a magazine, not multi-tasking).
2/. The experience of relaxing with a magazine is becoming more precious in our fast paced world, hence printed magazines will always be highly valued for their ability to engage and delight.
3/. The audience is often paying to receive the content which shows how much they value it.
4/. The audience trusts magazine content (including ads; studies show readers often enjoy ads as much as articles), and tend to develop a loyal following of editors and writers.
5/. Advertisers gain credibility through being associated with a trusted brand and in the right ‘environment’.
6/. Printed content has longevity.
7/. The ‘pass on’ rate of magazines means they reach additional readers.
8/. The multiple times one reader will refer to each copy (i.e. repeat exposure opportunities for advertisers).
9/. The visual impact of printed/tangible content.
10/. Magazines’ ability to get longer and more complicated messages across.
11/. Several international studies demonstrate that magazine advertising in conjunction with advertising in other mediums (i.e., magazines as part of a media mix in a campaign) creates a higher recall and understanding and generates a call to action significantly better than when magazines are not included in the media mix.
The MPA ad campaign will be supplemented with editorial, direct mail, sponsorships, and electronic communications.
This leads up to the annual Magazine Awards, which recognise excellence across all aspects of the local publishing industry – including editorial, design, photography, media integration, marketing and sales. This year for the first time, advertising agencies and advertisers have been encouraged to enter examples of their great campaigns in magazines where they measured the results to show the effectiveness of the medium. The winner of this new award, ‘Most Effective Use of Magazines by an Advertiser’, will be announced at the gala dinner on 23rd June.
“It is very satisfying to be able to show great results from magazine advertising,” says MPA Marketing Manager Kath Hurley. “Many advertisers inherently know that magazines are adding to their brand health and sales success, but need encouragement to stop and measure this. We are enjoying working with Y&R who have been firm in their support and their belief in our message, and we are getting great support for our communications campaign from our members and the wider industry also.”