CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: MEDIUM OF THE MONTH - Online advertising has given a boost to the title’s already huge ad volume, Felix Salmon writes

Forbes had more than 4,700 pages of advertising last year. That’s more than any magazine in the US with the exception of PC Magazine.

Forbes had more than 4,700 pages of advertising last year. That’s

more than any magazine in the US with the exception of PC Magazine.

And this year Forbes is getting fatter, as it becomes one of the

magazines of choice for a plethora of new dotcom ads. With Christmas

approaching, online retailers are jostling for adspace more than


To help its readers navigate the mushrooming issue size - the latest is

328 pages - Forbes had a redesign last month. Bruce Rogers,

vice-president of marketing at Forbes, says: ’Forbes hadn’t had a

refreshing of its graphics in more than ten years.’

’They’ve made a real effort to make tabular breaks,’ says Dwayne

Flinchum, who runs Flinchum Incorporated, a corporate graphic design

company in New York. But overall, and unsurprisingly, he says, the

changes are ’pretty conservative’.

For there isn’t - and wasn’t - anything fundamentally wrong with the

title. Forbes has been very successful at attracting and retaining a

certain breed of businessman (88 per cent are male) who identifies with

Forbes’s slogan, ’capitalist tool’. He’s old, rich and high up in his


Forbes knows well enough where the economy is heading: its coverage of

technology companies is constantly expanding, and it has a very good


But it’s not a must-read in Silicon Valley.

Rather Forbes explains what’s going on in Palo Alto to the businessman

in Pittsburgh. The obvious way to read Forbes’s 3,000 annual editorial

pages is on the web, with its sophisticated navigation and searching

tools. But this readership, while certainly wired, is not going to

desert the print edition.

Forbes splits advertisers into two broad categories. Business and

industry accounts for 58 per cent of ad pages, while consumer

advertising accounts for 42 per cent. The big technology companies are

solid advertisers in the former category. In the latter, cars and

financial services are always there in bulk, and there is also a

smattering of luxury goods ( Rolex has the back cover of the latest


Forbes is ultimately very like its readers. It is good at what it does,

unapologetic about what it is, conservative and very rich.

You or I might find the ’capitalist tool’ line obnoxious, the profiles

of corporate CEOs boring and the layout conservative to the point of


But the average Forbes reader is around 51 years old and a manager at

the top of a company which has annual gross sales of dollars 1.4



Cover price: dollars 4.95

Frequency: Fortnightly

Full page ad rate: dollars 64,490

Circulation: 785,065

Edited by Anna Griffiths Tel: 0181-267 4892 E-mail:


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