Last April, five magazine superpowers facing sharp declines in print advertising revenues promoted the value of magazines to readers and advertisers via a joint “Power of Print” campaign. The five magazine companies — Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines, Meredith Corporation, Time Inc. and Wenner Media — collectively ran the ads in 100 titles (both print and online) for a combined reach of 112 million readers each month. The text of one of the ads featuring swimming star Michael Phelps read:
“We surf the Internet. We swim in magazines.”
The Internet is exhilarating. Magazines are enveloping. The Internet grabs you. Magazines embrace you. The Internet is impulsive. Magazines are immersive. And both media are growing.
Barely noticed amidst the thunderous Internet clamor is the simple fact that magazine readership has risen over the past five years. Even in the age of the Internet, even among the groups one would assume are most singularly hooked on digital media, the appeal of magazines is growing.
Think of it this way: during the 12-year life of Google, magazine readership actually increased 11 percent.
What it proves, once again, is that a new medium doesn’t necessarily displace an existing one. Just as movies didn’t kill radio. Just as TV didn’t kill movies. An established medium can continue to flourish so long as it continues to offer a unique experience. And, as reader loyalty and growth demonstrate, magazines do.
Which is why people aren’t giving up swimming, just because they also enjoy surfing.
For sure, both online and print advertising have strengths and limitations. Online offers clickability; immediate updating; targeted placement strategies; lower pricing and detailed tracking. Print offers tangibility; strong branding and memorability; portability (not many readers take their computers into the bathroom to read); and readers who tend to be more highly engaged. Many designers feel they have more creative options with print, which is also not reliant on a consumer having a computer and internet connection.
The wisest choice is likely dependent on the specific product or service being advertised, as well as many variables that professional advertising executives help clients explore and identify. What’s crystal clear is the fact that technology plays an increasing role in the lives of readers and consumers, who appreciate choice – print, digital, mobile, iPad… A strong advertising campaign will integrate as many of these venues as possible — including print, which can borrow an old Mark Twain line and declare, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
At StimulusBrand, we are very active and experienced in the website/interactive arena. While we are not by definition a web design company, we have developed and launched a dozen new websites in the last year with several others in our current workflow. Still, we continue to build lots of print into the mix. Take a quick browse of our StimulusBrand portfolio featuring some print work we’re proud of. Or visit our website at: www.stimulusbrand.com. You can see a sample of our print portfolio at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?fbid=147690025260939&id=146922775337664&aid=28746.
- Diane Blaszka
- Tom McManimon