NEWS ANALYSIS: Emap Elan brand extensions head down the escape route - Are the days of standalone magazines numbered? Mark Tungate investigates

By MARK TUNGATE, campaignlive.co.uk, Monday, 27 September 1999 12:00AM

These days it’s almost impossible to buy a magazine that exists as a standalone print product. In fact you’re generally buying into a lifestyle brand that incorporates everything from a website to clothing and accessories.

These days it’s almost impossible to buy a magazine that exists as

a standalone print product. In fact you’re generally buying into a

lifestyle brand that incorporates everything from a website to clothing

and accessories.



As the market fragments and sales either slump or remain static,

publishers seem to be seeking ever more bizarre ways of generating

additional revenue.



A range of sportswear from Elle and a chain of FHM-branded clothing

stores may make sense. But a range of low-fat yoghurts from Cosmopolitan

does seem to be stretching the point.



The strand linking all these items is that they have evolved from

traditional media products. But with the launch of Emap Elan’s Escape

Routes, a new phenomenon emerges - the launch of a magazine as part of a

range of branded products. Escape Routes is a fully fledged travel

business in its own right.



Dawn Bebe, Elan’s women’s media director, admits that the magazine idea

came first. ’We realised that independent travellers might like a

one-stop shop where they could not only read about places, but also book

a holiday. From inspiration to transaction.’



So Escape Routes the magazine, the website and the direct phone booking

service came into being. Emap is promoting it as ’the first multi-media

launch’. There will undoubtedly be more.



’Emap sees itself as the multimedia company of the future,’ says

Bebe.



’We’ll look at different ways of servicing our audiences.’



The holiday booking service is a sensible idea; Escape Routes can make

money not only from traditional ad sales, but from banner ads and

commission on online bookings. However, if Elan genuinely wants to turn

the brand into a travel business, it will presumably move into guides,

luggage and even high street stores.



’There was talk of an Escape Routes rucksack,’ Bebe confirms. ’But it’s

early days and we want to establish the brand first.’



There’s no doubt that - in common with other publishers - Emap Elan is

taking the brand extensions business seriously. Only two weeks ago the

company announced that Stephanie White had been appointed to the new

role of brand director. She confirms that the standalone magazine may

soon become a thing of the past.



’In the future magazines will be used as brand platforms, eventually

becoming one spin-off of a whole range of products.’



Red Direct, which enables women to place telephone orders for products

that appear in the magazine, is already up and running. White calls this

development a ’magalogue’, something Dennis Publishing is also believed

to be considering.



But isn’t there a danger that the poor old magazine will be lost in all

the surrounding clutter? After all, if you can surf the website, wear

the clothes and eat the yoghurt, why bother reading the mag?



’I don’t think that will ever happen,’says White. ’It’s such a symbiotic

scenario. Elle, for instance, is a lifestyle badge for an entire group

of women.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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