Front-of-book ad placements are lucrative spots for magazine publishers, but with the medium facing tough questions about its relevancy, close to 100 titles are planning to cede prominent space in their issues for an industry ad campaign that aims to promote magazines as vital.
The campaign by Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Time Inc. and Wenner Media with the support of Magazine Publishers of America was announced at the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Transformation 2010 Conference in San Francisco.
Y&R, New York, created the campaign, which will carry headlines like "Will the Internet Kill Magazines? Did Instant Coffee Kill Coffee?" and incorporate iconic images from well-known magazines. The effort targets advertisers, influencers and shareholders and will kick off in the April and May issues of the five backing companies' publications as well as those of other publishers, including Bonnier Corp., National Geographic, ESPN and New York Media, parent of New York magazine. It will run for seven months and have a digital component.
Cathie Black, president, Hearst Magazines; Jack Griffin, president, Meredith's National Media Group; and Ann Moore, chairman and CEO, Time Inc., took the stage at the 4A's to outline six myths about the magazine industry and how they plan to address them in the campaign.
"We are ferociously determined to correct the misconceptions that have been swirling around the advertising industry," said Moore. "We've really had our fill of myths."
Moore went on to counter the notion that readers are abandoning magazines and that young people don't read magazines. She also pushed back on any thinking that print is no longer a relevant ad vehicle in the digital age.
"I believe magazines are the original mobile device," she said.
Moore countered the perception that magazines do not offer scale as a medium, pointing out that Time Inc.'s People magazine reaches 45 million readers every week, topping the 22.7 million people who watched the 2009 finale of Fox's American Idol.
The final three points were outlined by Griffin, who debunked the idea that all the excitement is happening online; that magazines are not engagement vehicles; and that the industry has devalued its product by offering its content for free online.
"Magazines help us see beyond ourselves," said Griffin. "They are voices of authority."
Griffin went on to point to the many digital initiatives the magazine industry has pushed forward and the deep, emotional engagement and ownership that readers enjoy with printed magazines.
Black closed the presentation by outlining the campaign and describing its creative messaging.
"These are not just magazines, they are brands," Black said. "They deserve your renewed interest."
See also: Magazine Marketing Push to Get April Rollout