What else can we cut out of magazines?

You may have heard that Philips Electronics has paid Hearst $2 million to eliminate the subscription cards from four of its magazines in September. (An online Wall Street Journal article has the details.) Playing on the brand’s positioning as an exemplar of “simplicity,” a Philips ad in each magazine will say, “Simplicity is not having subscription cards fall out of your magazine.” The ploy is likely to be well received by readers, who generally regard the cards as a nuisance. But subscription cards are scarcely the most annoying element in today’s magazines. What if an advertiser paid a magazine a premium to keep the issue free of stories about, say, Jessica Simpson or Brangelina? For some readers, this would generate the sort of brand loyalty that an ordinary ad could never hope to achieve.

—Posted by Mark Dolliver