All entries for Wednesday 19 March 2008
March 19, 2008
A recent Grazia (May 2007) with someone who passes for being a "Celebrity". The recent covers have changed from the earlier versions of Grazia with the head of the chosen "celebrity" replacing one of the letters of the masthead. Noticeable on this cover is the fact that there isn't a any kind of special promotion such as bags or shoes inside. It may well be that May is a thin time for products (as well as "celebs"). Autumn is too far away and all the designers have released their summer items and spent thier promotional budgets. A range of even more minor "celebrities" provides some teasers.
New Kid on the Block
Every now and again a magazine comes along that captures the moment. Marie Claire did it in the Eighties, the lads' mag Loaded did it in the Nineties. Grazia's news-'n'-shoes format is doing it right now. The word its readers use again and again is 'addicted'. (Observer March 2007)
Who is Behind Grazia Launch in 2005 & How Much Did it Cost to Establish it ?
Grazia was launched two years ago based on the hunch that there was a gap in the market for a weekly magazine for women who buy monthlies. The format was inspired by Italian Grazia, a highly successful weekly fashion glossy which began in 1938. However lots of media experts said the idea would never work in Britain. Weekly magazines are notoriously expensive to pull off. EMAP, the company behind British Grazia, shelled out £16 million for the launch, making it the priciest magazine start-up ever. Meanwhile there were whispers that designer brands would not want to buy into a celebrity weekly format. 'People thought we were barking,' recalls EMAP's CEO Paul Keenan. (Observer March 2007)
How Well is it Selling?
In last month's ABC figures its circulation had risen by 23 per cent. Combined sales over a month exceed 700,000, which means it outsells Glamour - the biggest-selling women's monthly magazine. Although this is nowhere near what traditional women's weeklies used to sell in the Seventies (Observer March 2007)
Who is its Target Audience?
In a way, the very success of the magazine lies in this unpretentious 'does-what-it-says-on-the-tin' style of publishing. Grazia is neither highbrow nor lowbrow. In fact, it is 'nobrow'. The launch team realised that old-fashioned class distinctions no longer work in Britain and that people are much more complex than their old socio-economic brackets suggest. In fact, actual social mobility is slower than it's been in generations but culturally we Brits pride ourselves on our ability to move both up and down. We can be intelligent and like disposable, trivial things; be broke but still hanker after quality. (Observer March 2007)
This all-inclusive mix is a clever trick. It means successful women, who thought women's weeklies were for their grandmothers, aren't embarrassed to be seen buying the magazine. (Observer March 2007)
'I would argue that there's virtually no reading matter in it at all,' says Angela McRobbie, professor of communications at Goldsmiths College London and an expert on women's magazines. 'At the same time the tone is such that it is perfectly acceptable for a middle-class graduate to read it.' (Observer March 2007)
Is it just another traditional Woman's Magazine?
One could argue that what makes up the essence of Grazia is still traditional women's magazine fodder - diets, kids, celebrities, love affairs, shoes, recipes, dating, parties, lipstick. (Observer March 2007)
Getting the Cover Right
The right cover image is crucial. So is the right story to go with it. By publishing weekly, Grazia has managed to turn these beautiful women's lives - both pampered and chaotic - into soap operas. As Linda Grant says: 'I am truly fascinated by whether Jennifer Aniston will ever recover from Brad Pitt. Or whether Kate Moss will ever see the truth about Pete.' (Observer March 2007)
Grazia's cover images have become instantly recognisable on the newsstands - where, incidentally, the traditional monthlies now struggle to stand out. In the early days, when the magazine was still in research, the team followed Italian Grazia's lead and used models on the covers. 'But in focus groups they bombed,' says Nicola Jeal, editor of Observer Woman, who was a consultant on the launch of Grazia. 'Then we tried beautiful air-brushed pictures of celebrities but they didn't take off either. It wasn't until we tried glossy real-life paparazzi pictures that the reaction totally changed. Women loved it.' (Observer March 2007)
This Grazia is a little older than the earlier one and the masthead Grazia overlays the head of the "celebrity" in question. Its not a very elegant solution so the one above has been the preferred re-design. This one has the classic "HOT BUYS" which many do. Seems to be an obvious answer here to the typical question of how do these magazines promote consumption!
Capitalising on "Celebrity"
Despite appearances, our obsession with celebrity is a relatively new phenomenon - mushrooming in the past 10 years, partly due to the gap left by Princess Diana and partly encouraged by the popularity of bitchy gossip sites on the internet. The selling power of a handful of A-list women is difficult to underestimate. The Grazia cover girls are a select band: so far Kate Moss has featured 12 times, Jennifer Aniston 13 times, Victoria Beckham 17 times. We can't, it seems, get enough of them. Other favourites are Angelina Jolie, Sienna Miller and Madonna. (Observer March 2007)
(Sounds like a lack of "celebrities" to me :-). Anybody wishing to apply for the position of "Celebrity" can get career advice from the Celebrity Plus Training Agency [This is a full equal opportunities agency but intellectuals need not apply]
Fashionistas are Afficionados
Stores like Topshop change their stock every week and, unlike the monthly magazines, Grazia is able to keep up with the turnaround.
Tania Littlehales is the PR for Marks & Spencer. 'Our designers definitely have Grazia and Grazia's readers in mind,' she says. Last season a navy-blue trapeze-style mac which was featured in the pages immediately sold out. 'Our designers can translate looks on the catwalk to the shop so quickly these days. We call it "fast fashion". We even hold back some of our budget specifically so we can respond quickly to new trends. Fashion is quicker and a weekly magazine like Grazia can cover that.' (Observer March 2007)
Can the monthly magazines compete? (Do we care ?)
Sally O'Sullivan... thinks there's still room for both. 'There are still some fantastic magazines out there. The magazine audience in this country is huge and we produce the best in the world. A woman will very happily buy Grazia as well as her favourite monthly, be it Vogue or Marie Claire. A monthly gives you a totally different experience.' (Observer March 2007)
Glossary of Magazine Terms
Ad-get Features: These are closely linked to advertorials. This involves a special theme being proposed in order to sell advertising space in the magazine. This is a slightly murky field. For example the Times Higher Educational supplement might tell publishers when it is going to carry features and revews on a particular subject area such as ‘Media’ for example. Obviously this is likely to attract more buyers than usual from University media departments. But the publishers of Media textbooks will have no say in exactly what is written in the features or the reviews. With ‘lifestyle’ magazines this relationship breaks down rapidly and there is likely to be close collaboration between advertisers and the magazine.
Advertorials: sometimes known as ‘special features’ these are pages for which the advertiser pays but the pages are designed and written in the style of the magazine’s editorial. They are either done by the magazine’s own staff or else they are freelance writers working to the magazines style sheets. They help to ‘deliver the reader to the advertisers’ by deliberately blurring the difference between the editorial content and the adverts. In many ways they can be seen as an attempt to fool readers into thinking that the content is in some way ‘objective’. Certainly the net effect is - except to the exceptionally alert reader - to provide an underpinning of the product concerned. Researching 1966 for IPC (a magazine company) showed that readers assume that the editor has in some way been involved in the selection of the product shown in the advertisement feature. The closer the match between the advertisement feature and the editorial style of the magazine the more readers are likely to believe that the editor is endorsing the product. The brand values of the magazine will feed into the product being featured. The December 2004 GQ ‘GQ Promotion’ of a Volvo 4 wheel drive estate which lends an air of excitement to the product is effectively part of a campaign to reposition in the car market as something more ‘lifestyle’ linked to adrenalin rather than as in Britain an image of staidness and safety features. Clearly primarily aimed at younger men. These features are meant to carry a truth ‘warning’ indicating that it is some kind of advertisement.
AIDA. Advertisers have worked for many years trying develop models of consumer behaviour. Many work to a behavioural model called AIDA = Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. In this model the purpose of advertising is to raise awareness, then stimulate interest which leads to the creation of desire and subsequently action. Action wouldn’t necessarily take place for some time especially in the case of something big like car adverts for example. This meant that advertisers had to multiply the number of messages to reinforce their sales force. This model is dependent upon a ‘rational’ consumer acting in a linear way. Also many adverts failed to stimulate action or desire. Now most advertising strategies rely upon 2 main behavioural responses: raising awareness and stimulating interest.
AIR: see Average Issue Readership.
Average Issue Readership
Burst Advertising (also see Drip Advertising). Burst advertising concentrates on a range of vehicles with high frequency. This can be targeted at crucial times of year. For example the expensive Swiss watches advertised before Xmas (Cartier / Breitling) in GQ will also be present in the quality Newspapers (Financial Times, Independent, Telegraph, Times, Sunday Times etc). They will also be in magazines such as The Economist. GQ is the sort of magazine often consumed whilst waiting for business meetings or travelling to them and can be bought more for the adverts than the editorial content.
Circulation: Circulation differs from readership. A magazine will almost certainly have more readers than it has buyers. Each magazine generates figures which suggest the actual multiple involved. In other words whether it is 2 or 10 times the number of readers to buyers. Let us take GQ. It has a circulation of around 100,000 if its index comes out as 10 then it will have 1 million people reading it.
Consumer Magazines: These aim at leisure interest giving readers , advice information and entertainment relating to the reader’s leisure time. Magazines on cars, boats, bycycles, windsurfing, cinema etc. The actual quality of the writing and the target audience will of course vary. What links all these magazines is the fact that they will carry adverts to encourage the reader to consume relevant products in some way. Buying a car or a DVD or going to a film.
Coverage (Advertising). Coverage is the number of the target market reached. Coverage is usually measured in Average Issue Readership (AIR) for print media.
Cover lines : Information about major articles given on the front page of a magazine
Drip Advertising. (also see Burst Advertising). Drip advertising tends to focus on keeping up an awareness of a brand. You might see a a body product being advertised in a drip way after an initial Burst campaign to create awareness. Because perfumes etc are relatively cheap and regularly consumed it is important to keep brand awareness up. Buyers are likely to consume several times a year so it is important to try and maintain brand loyalty.
Frequency (advertising) is the number of times the target market is reached.
Left-side third: A lot of important information designed to attract potential readers is placed in the left-hand side vertical third of the front cover page. This is in case the magazine is displayed in a horizontal shelving system rather than a vertical one.
Lifestyle Magazines: a sub-genre of consumer magazines. Where titles are not clearly about one activity or interest they are likely to be about lifestyle. Most of these are for women and girls but since the 1990s several new ones have been aimed at men such as FHM, Loaded, Front and GQ. These have so far been very successful. A critic Cynthia White as far back as the 1970s asked of women’s magazines how far they supported acquisition as a primary goal of life thereby relegating or downgrading other goals in life. This can now be asked of men’s ‘Lifestyle Magazines’.
Magazines / Technology and Ads: For many years magazines benefited from having full colour reproduction. This kept key advertisers such as food, drinks, fashion and cosmetics. As technologies changed and colour became more available for newspapers so magazines had to develop new arguments. They have to convince Media Buyers that it is ‘common sense’ that women’s monthlies have more loyal readers than say newspaper colour supplements. They convince media buyers by going out and doing ‘qualitative research’.
Market Penetration: This term refers to the % of potential readers who actually buy the publication.
GQ would be looking at all males in the UK between say 18-30.
Masthead: The title of the magazine or newspaper. It is usually placed at the top of the front cover for display purposes
Media Planner (Advertising). Media plans are usually constructed to cover a year-long campaign. They are made with the client to discuss timing (Xmas for perfumes Feb/ Mar for new fashions etc). The planner makes sure that the campaign fits in with the rest of the marketing mix. It is important to ensure that outlets have sufficient stocks. Media planner is given information on who uses the brand, who uses competitors brands, who buys it who influences the purchasing decision. (Parents / Friends / work colleagues / experts etc. This influences the ‘creative’ brief. The media planner then draws a map of media audiences which would achieve the greatest coverage of the advertising target at the lowest price based upon media research. Usually several different plans are drawn up. Contingencies are also built in. If an economic recession takes places then sometimes one area of media will be dropped. This is often newspapers and magazines as for many (not al products TV exposure is more important). Please note for a magazine like GQ for example this might affect car and perfume ads but not high fashion which doesn’t tend to use TV precisely because they are targeting exclusivity and status not mass markets. Media planning has to create a balance in each plan between the number and frequency of the target audience reached set against the budget. Media planners traditionally compare the relative costs of delivering audience on the basis of its cost per thousand members of the target audience. This approach works best where delivering the greatest volume of the target market is important. It is calculated on the basis of the Rate Card price divided by projected numbers, divided by 1000. In 1992 the cost in women’s lifestyle magazines varied between £7.93 for Cosmopolitan to £18.67 for Harpers and Queen. This isn’t the real cost and is also based upon the readership rather than the precise target audience (that would differ considerably between Harpers and Cosmopolitan for example). Harpers is aimed at the A/B income level whilst Cosmopolitan is primarily C1 /B / A .
Advertising planners also build in other factors such as quality of editorial content. All these extra values are when factored in to produce a Valued Impressions per Pound (VIP) rating. Quality f editorial, production etc is multiplied by the audience and divided by the cost. On this basis the Financial Times is ahead of the Sun.
With magazines the editorial will be made to fit the space created by the adverts. Ads pay for more pages to be printed.
Plug: Information about the contents of a magazine or newspaper given on the front cover
Puff: Words or phrases on the cover of a magazine used to boost status
Product / Brand Awareness. ( Analysing the Adverts)
Raising Awareness. Adverts have to compete with other adverts, often with editorial content and with general consumer resistance. Because of the this the ‘creatives’ see the most important job of an advert as grabbing the reader’s attention. Some make assumptions that because interests and social life are so heavily gendered the best way to reach the attention of women is to use animals, royalty, weddings, babies fashion and astrology. For men it’s sports, sex, cars, politics, wars and disasters. In this way advertisers can help to create gendered stereotyping for example. Involving readers or providing shocks are common ways of raising awareness.
‘News’ stories become a powerful advertising discourse. Constant product modifications, re-launches and redesigns reflect a need to be constantly be seen to be modern. ‘New improved’ maintains brand loyalty. Features on luxury cars are introduced lower down the market range. By revamping a product it also allows the possibility of creating more editorial comment in reviews / interviews etc.
Prominence involves using a personality, event or object that the target market collectively recognises and understands. It is part of a shared cultural knowledge. (Madonna in Versace spring 2005 GQ) for example.
Co-option an advertiser uses a major news or media event or other advertising campaigns for their own advertising. With food for example a government health recommendation of five pieces of fruit and veg per day can be used in diet adverts for example. Pollution can get body product makers inventing new protective creams etc.
Arousing curiosity. Ask the question ‘Why’. For example ‘Why our moisturiser has red hot chillies in it ‘. In women’s magazines especially the ‘how to...’ Construction. - How to get a boyfriend / Lose weight while eating even more ice cream / how to find out if he’s cheating on you.
Showmanship. When you have nothing to say use showmanship. Is there anything new to say about shampoos for example? The brand therefore needs high production values to give a sense of something ‘added value’ elevating the product.
Sustaining Interest. The existence of editorial content is paradoxical because although mass media provide coverage it is difficult to grab interest and attention for products. Advertisers believe hat the consumers are often in the wrong frame of mind to receive advertising messages. ‘Creatives’ therefore try and make ads stand out by having better production values than the editorial. Sometimes humour and other devices can be used to break down consumer resistance.
Getting around the media-wise consumer. The use of parody is becoming common to try and get around the sceptical consumer. The point is often not to be appearing to sell at all. The point being to allow the consume space to make up their own mind rather than feel that they are being manipulated. This leads to try it out , make up your own mind, we think you’ll agree with us ,if you do be careful! you might be seriously tempted.... type of advert.
Distraction. This is used to break down the resistance of the consumer. Look for strong visuals and graphics in the magazines. Haagen Daas co-opted greater discussion in the media about ‘adventurous sex’ as a way to keep your partner suddenly linking ice-cream to sex. Erotic imagery distracted the consumer as well as being suggestive.
Creating Consumer Pride. Much advertising is meant to assure existing users that they have made a wise choice encouraging to return to that brand which is still the best.
Fear, Guilt and Insecurity. Problems with spots, keeping boyfriend / girlfriend, career failure, not fitting in, loss of status and esteem, loss of face, loss of wealth. Creatives create the fear and then answer these with ads such as tension - relax with our ...., distrust of business - caring capitalism / corporate charity.
Fantasy and escapism. The Bounty Bar on a tropical island is to associate myths, metaphors and associations with a Brand.
Consistency, familiarity and authority. People like to do business with people they know so advertisers try to establish their brands as trustworthy and familiar. How do advertisers make their claims credible? One way is by sheer dominance of the market-place. Getting a famous / neutral person to endorse the product. Science especially with body products for example. Words such as ‘Hydra Renewal’ (there is water content in the product)give an air of a laboratory. Use of ‘Experts’.
Memory and action. Much of the advertising in lifestyle magazines such as GQ uses an indirect form of selling associated with an emotional experience or a value ‘ Pernod :Free the Spirit’ for example. ‘Carlsberg. The best lager in the world, probably’. There is a positive emotional response. When it comes to buying this is likely to differentiate the brand from say 5 other different lagers at the bar. Nike’s ‘ Just do it ‘ ads.
‘Surrogate’ Advertising. Traditional media such as radio, TV newspapers generally consume these media for the editorial content. For this reason the media audience for these surrogate media will always be distinct from the brand’s target audience. This will give an advantage to the specialist magazine.
Time of Consumption. Monthly magazines consumed over a month give a more protracted exposure than a daily paper.
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