‘Esquire’ Takes a Page From Hollywood to Promote August Issue

Sneak a peek at the cars, stars and girls

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

You’ve probably seen a lifetime’s worth of movie trailers for summer blockbusters this season, but what about a trailer for a summer magazine? For its August issue (on newsstands July 10) Esquire has put together a trailer to give readers a taste of what they’ll find within the magazine’s pages. Here’s a brief summary: shiny cars, action stars (by way of cover guy Jeremy Renner) and pretty girls (like Twilight’s Ashley Greene and The Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev). Oh, and an action star driving a shiny car.

Esquire already collects plenty of behind-the-scenes videos of its photo shoots for its iPad edition and for the Web, said editor in chief David Granger. The magazine had done one trailer before, for a single story in the May issue about an exotic animal zoo escape. So this time around, when discussing how to promote the latest issue, Esquire’s editorial team came up with the idea to do a trailer that would highlight the full magazine. “We had so much extra video for August, so we wanted to put it to good use,” said Granger.

After producing around “15 versions” of the trailer, according to Granger’s estimate, Esquire design director David  Curcurito and Hearst Video Services produced a flashy, tongue-in-cheek look at August’s photo and editorial features. The trailer will be posted on the magazine’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook this week, and it will also be embedded in a QR code on the cover of the magazine so that newsstand buyers can preview the issue before they buy. But even though Esquire has been experimenting with QR codes for several years, getting readers to actually use them can be tricky, Granger admitted. “People are suspicious of QR codes. They think it’s an ad for something. But I think we’ve been doing enough amusing stuff with QR codes that readers will actually trust and use them.”

Granger, who's experimented with unusual cover treatments in recent years, hopes that Esquire can continue to make trailers for all of its upcoming issues, depending on what assets they have. “This happened to be a really rich issue, but we are actively making the effort to do trailers as often as we can, at least until we—or our readers—get sick of them,” he said.

@adweekemma emma.bazilian@adweek.com Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.