Additional spring put in publishers’ steps as MPA launches new magazine trade campaign

There’s no denying the print sector has suffered at the hands of the digital revolution and recession double whammy. But as everyone goes gaga over new technology and predictions about the death of anything that isn’t the internet continue to spew forth, it’s easy to forget that good old-fashioned paper-based publications are still holding on and, in many cases, going great guns. Promoting the vitality of magazines as a medium was the basis of a huge ‘Power of Print’ campaign in the US. And now the Magazine Publishers Association and Y&R have just launched a localised version of this message with a new trade campaign called ‘Magazines Add. Add Magazines’. 

The US consumer campaign, which saw fiercely competitive magazine publishing giants Time Inc., Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith Corp., and Wenner Media join together for one of the world’s biggest ever print campaigns, was seen as being slightly defensive. So, rather than running with the same idea in New Zealand, the MPA instead commissioned Y&R to create a campaign aimed at brand managers, marketing managers, advertisers and media agencies.

Y&R strategic planner Janisa Parag says an online survey of advertisers and all media agencies in New Zealand was undertaken to gather perceptions on and use of magazines as an advertising channel.

“The research clearly identified some key issues about the perception of magazines,” Parag says. “Advertisers, creatives, media agencies and marketing/brand managers didn’t feel magazines performed as well as other media—particularly in delivering ROI, being responsive, flexible or innovative. There was a consistent view that magazines offered lower effectiveness relative to other media which prevented magazines being used in media schedules.”

On the plus side, the research showed agencies and advertisers felt magazines were relevant, engaging, educational, inspirational and effective; that they were seen as a treat, a luxury and a form of escapism; and that the content was generally intelligent, interesting, informative and entertaining.

From an agency perspective, the key strengths were the ability to target markets and engage and involve readers using a high quality, visually inspiring and tactile media. Respondents also felt there was a good range of segmented titles to choose from and thought magazine advertising was creative, eye-catching, and impactful.

“Though magazines were known for high quality, advertisers and publishers could not relate to the fact that the ROI stacked up against other media,” she says. “The critical problem we needed to demonstrate was that quality and results aren’t mutually exclusive.”

The end result of this research was that when magazines are added to other media, campaigns show measurable improvement. And, with the help of the world’s biggest database of brands, Y&R’s proprietary research tool Brand Asset Valuator, the new campaign aims to show how magazine advertising can significantly differentiate all brands, not just FMCG, and drive value to the bottom line.

“Our campaign demonstrates that no other medium can add high quality to brands like magazines can,” says the MPA’s big cheese John McClintock.

Add this new promotional push to the recently relaunched Nielsen CMI survey and results that show readership has held firm, and it’s obvious why the local publishing industry seems quietly confident about the prospect of the year ahead.

  • For an in-depth look at the local print media sector, check out the feature in the latest NZ Marketing magazine.

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