Ecostore’s personalised mag covers win hearts, minds and inaugural Glossies Award

Youtube VideoThe November/December round of voting for The Glossies has come to an end and the creative campaign concocted by ecostore, Special Group, Naked and Salt Interactive that ran in ACP’s Little Treasures and allowed parents to turn their children into cover stars has claimed first place with 22 percent of the 574 votes received, beating out Alt Group’s Fisher & Paykel ad in Cuisine (18 percent) and Tourism Queensland’s multi-page execution (EBOOK_LTQG_2011_LR) in Let’s Travel Golf edition (15 percent).

One of the major insights used for the ecostore rebrand last year was that parents—and specifically mothers—are often more passionate about their children’s health than their own and are at a stage in their lives when they start to reassess the products they use. So the aim of the mass-personalisation campaign was to get them to look at the kinds of things they were putting on their children’s skin, not just in their mouth.

To do this, Naked came up with the novel, targeted media strategy of putting their children on the cover of their favourite magazine and Special Group and Salt created a microsite www.nonastychemicals.com, where 3,000 of the 20,000-ish subscribers were given the chance to upload a photo of their bundle of joy. When that was done, a pdf-ready cover page was spat out and sent to the printers and a personalised copy of the June edition with the headline “I’m opting out of products that use nasty chemicals” turned up on the doorstep.

ACP’s Ben Gibb says it shows how magazines can offer brands a niche, highly engaged audience. But he says the genius of it was that once these 3000 subscribers got their magazines they often took to social media and were able to influence other parents in ecostore’s target market, to the point where research showed half of the estimated 250,000 mothers in New Zealand with a child under five had heard about the campaign. Added to that, 90 percent of them were aware it was a joint promotion between ecostore and Little Treasures, so “they knew what was happening” and they were thankful for the brand’s generosity. And this emotional, prideful response to the keepsake they were sent and the talkability it generated meant it ended up being a hell of a lot cheaper to gain that level of exposure than with a traditional, mass-market brand relaunch.

The MPA’s executive director John McClintock believes the campaign is a great example of the modern craft of magazine publishing and shows how a good idea well-executed can generate its own steam.


“It isn’t just about ink on paper. And it’s not just about plain display advertising. It’s much wider than that now. And this campaign underlines the emotional response magazines can create.”

Special Group’s Tony Bradbourne says there was some debate at the time about whether anything like this had been done before, but new or not, it certainly hit the mark: 1000 people uploaded their own covers in the first 24 hours and he says there were many stories about parents keeping the magazine wrapped up in the plastic to protect it, requesting extra copies to send off to the grandparents or sharing it with their friends.

“When you’ve got customers holding your ad like that, it’s a good sign,” he says.

Because of the success of the campaign in New Zealand, the same idea has also recently been rolled out in Australia, with another 3000 or so personalised ecostore covers printed and attached to Pacific Magazines’ Practical Parenting.

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