Last week there was, understandably, some buzz about Time Inc.’s decision to sell small cover ads. The news, on the heels of Time Inc.’s split from Time Warner Cable, broke that a small Verizon ad (a line of text in the bottom corner of the cover, potentially right below a mailing label, reading “For best results use Verizon see P. 23″) would appear on the upcoming issue of Time and Sports Illustrated.
The addition of marketing messages to the front cover is in direct opposition to the American Society of Magazine Editors’ (ASME) very first editorial guideline, which states clearly:
1. Don’t Print Ads on Covers
The cover is the editor and publisher’s brand statement. Advertisements should not be printed directly on the cover or spine.
“Obviously this is just the beginning. Eventually magazine covers will look like NASCAR cars, completely covered in ads. It’ll be like a fun, sad game — try to figure out what magazine this is!” he wrote.