Increasingly, magazines are finding that championing charitable causes is not only good for the soul, but it’s also good for the bottom line. Rodale senior vice president, editor-in-chief, Men’s Health and editorial director, Best Life David Zinczenko — perhaps the current champion of cross-promotion — moderated a panel on cause marketing featuring Stacy Morrison, editor-in-chief, Redbook; Linda Fears, editor-in-chief, Family Circle; and Colin Kearns, senior editor, Field & Stream.
Morrison, who cut her cause marketing teeth while championing the prevention of domestic abuse during her time at Marie Claire, brought the practice to her new publication. “There isn’t a single issue of Redbook that doesn’t have some sort of cause-related issue in it,” she said.
Kearns, whose magazine oversees the “Heroes of Conservation” program, thought the initiative helped dress up an otherwise bland subject. “We’ll compare conservation to broccoli,” the editor explained. “It’s important, you need it, but it’s not that much fun. … ‘Heroes of Conservation’ is the nice cheese to put on our broccoli.”
(The winners of the program win a truck from Toyota, the company that sponsors the project. “How do you reconcile the fact that the Toyota Truck gets 10 miles to the gallon?” Zinczenko asked.
“You have to understand that the work these people are doing is massive,” Kearns responded. “Some dude hauled five million pounds of junk out of America’s rivers. They aren’t just going to dump this stuff in their Prius. They need something with a little meat in it to do their stuff.” Okay then.)
While getting an advertiser to cover costs is important, banking on being able to recruit one from the beginning is a dangerous proposition. “You can’t go into it expecting to attract advertisers immediately,” Fears, whose magazine champions the “Great American Bake Sale,” said. “You have to do what’s good for your brand and hope it goes from there. If you build it, they will come.”
Morrison initially worried that readers might react negatively to cause marketing because they wouldn’t want it forced down their throats. In fact, internal polling has found exactly the opposite. “[They say] it helps them ‘be a good person,’” she said.
Exactly five years after being elected governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger took part in Tuesday’s keynote conversation at the American Magazine Conference. (Time ME Richard Stengel interviewed him). The governor didn’t mention which was a bigger thrill, but he did cover a number of topics including the economy, whether immigrants should be allowed to be elected President and how he deals with the Democratic leanings of his wife, Maria Shriver.
After the jump, Arnold charmingly explains how it’s a problem when “Ms. Alaska is beating Mr. Universe.”
Echoing his So What Do You Do? interview from last week, Runner’s World editor-in-chief and current American Society of Magazine Editors president David Willey offered a positive view of the future in his address to the American Magazine Conference Tuesday morning.
“I don’t think print is dead or even dying,” the editor said. Still, he’s focused on helping ASME transition into the digital age, both with new groups such as ASME Next — targeting younger editors — and new digital guidelines. About these rules, which should be passed soon, Willey joked “at times, it has felt that we were passing a $700 billion bailout package.”
The organization recently hired Sid Holt to be its first ever CEO and he’ll be tasked with growing membership, raising ASME’s profile, and working with MPA to advance shared agendas on government affairs, audience measurement, magazine branded digital initiatives, sponsorships and sustainability.
As publishers search for more creative ways of getting advertising dollars, Willey admitted that “these church and state issues are getting more and more complicated,” jokingly suggesting an “ASME jail” on Alcatraz. The future, however, lies in collaboration between the two publishing arms. “The course forward must be steered not by technologists or marketers, but by editors and publishers working together,” he said.
But did opening up the Ellie nominations to online hurt print magazines?
The executive, battling a possible staff defection, attempted to explain how she saw the future of online advertising playing out. “My view is that people don’t dislike ads,” she said. “They dislike irrelevant, untargeted ads.”
To this end, the much-reviled “new Facebook” is designed to have interactive ads. “It’s a much cleaner interface. And we launched an ad product on the right, which has interactive properties. People can interact with it,” the COO said. In a test campaign, MTV ran a video during its music awards and people could comment on the video. Those comments then went directly to the Newsfeed. “People were doing what they do with Facebook right in the ad,” Sandberg said.
How does she feel about the millions of people protesting the redesign?
User-generated content was the topic on one of this afternoon’s con-current panel discussion at the 2008 American Magazine Conference. Kevin McKean of Consumer Reports and ConsumerReports.org moderated the group which included Mitchell Fox, president and CEO, 8020 Media; Chris Johns, editor-in-chief, National Geographic; Susan Kane, editorial director and editor-in-chief, the Parenting Group; Edward Grinnan, editor-in-chief and vice president, Guideposts and Guideposts.com; and Alexandra Bandon, multimedia editor, This Old House.
Bandon, whose magazine put out an entire user-generated issue this June, spoke first. “We learned a lot about ourselves,” she said, adding that despite not paying contributors for their content, “We spent pretty much the same amount of money, but we had to build a $40,000 Web site.” This Old House hopes to put out another issue next year, and Bandon revealed that advertisers “got very excited about it when it was in their hands.”
After the jump, more revelations from the other four panelists (in quick, easy bullet point form because I’m tired and I’m sure you’re sick of reading).
“Brain,” New York‘s tribute to the Eliot Spitzer scandal, picked up three awards including “Cover of the Year” at this morning’s third annual AMC cover contest. In total, Adam Moss‘ publication picked up five of the eight awards (including best fashion cover for New York Look).
Full list, with links to covers, after the jump.
According to futurist Paul Saffo, consulting associate professor, Stanford University, and distinguished visiting scholar, Stanford Media-X, there’s an amazing amount of opportunity in the changing media landscape.
“We are on the midst of a fundamental change in the whole information industry,” Saffo said. “Everything is media.”
“There’s a massive shift from information to media, but there’s also a shift from mass to personal,” he explained, citing the fact that more video cameras were sold in cell phones last year than on their own.
He believes that the Information Age is over and we are at the dawn of the Media Age. Magazine publishers are at the forefront of this change, but it is difficult to see where to go. “You’re at ground zero of this revolution, and that’s a hard place to get perspective,” Saffo said.
Where can media companies look for new ideas?
In the first talk of the day at the 2008 American Magazine Conference, Myers Publishing LLC president Jack Myers moderated a panel featuring Bob Carrigan, CEO, IDG Communications; Ed Kelly, President & CEO, American Express Publishing Corporation, and Andy Sareyan, President, Better Homes and Gardens and EVP, Meredith Publishing Group. The group discussed how the model for magazines was changing and how their companies and publications were changing along with it.
“Go where the money is,” Kelly said when talking about his company’s forays into the non-print world. “Forty percent of my bottom line comes from non-magazine [sources].”
Carrigan, who now sees roughly 60 percent of United States revenue come from non-print sources, said IDG was forced to deal with the move away from magazines earlier than some other categories. “The tech category was hit fast and furious,” he explained. “We were the canary in the coalmine if you will.”
The three on stage agreed that digital in itself was not the solution. “We just put together a large deal that really led with digital,” Sareyan said. “That’s where we’re finding success with digital. Not isolating it on its own.”
So how do you get into the digital realm?
NEXT PAGE >>