Branding Mother Jones

Magazine Aims Print Ads At Younger Readers
SAN FRANCISCO–Mother Jones magazine, which has traditionally shunned slick corporate marketing, is launching its first branding ad campaign next month.
The national print and outdoor ads from Underground Advertising for the 22-year-old San Francisco-based magazine use the tag: “The rest is just mass media.” Backed by a modest $200,000 budget, the campaign will aim to position the publication as a hip, anti-establishment voice, particularly for 20- to 34-year-olds.
Known for hard-hitting investigative journalism, the newly redesigned magazine recently conducted marketing research on its brand awareness, said publisher Jay Harris. Results showed a loyal readership among affluent, educated people over 40, but not much awareness among younger people, Harris said.
The new ads use large-type headlines with a twist, said Peter Walbridge, co-creative director at Underground, San Francisco. “We want [the ads] to be young and cheeky while getting across the message that this magazine investigates what no one else is looking at,” he said.
One ad mocks the celebrity obsession of mainstream media: “For people who don’t care what Leonardo DiCaprio ate for breakfast. (But do care what pesticides went into it.)”
Ads will run in The Nation, The Village Voice, the Washington Post and in regional alternative papers.