INTERNATIONAL: Medium of the month

Steve Klein confesses that he has a secret passion for celebrity dirt

Steve Klein confesses that he has a secret passion for celebrity dirt

Americans scoop up about 2.2 million copies of the National Enquirer

each week from newsstands (mostly in supermarkets). Add that to about

400,000 subscribers, and you’ve got a whopping 2.6 million weekly

circulation for the 25-year-old granddaddy of American tabloid


Who’s consuming all of this celebrity-exposing journalism? America’s

heartland consumers: not particularly upscale, not particularly well-

educated, but with families and homes and plenty of stocking of the

shelves to do.

I must confess that I grab the Enquirer, or its sister publication, the

Star, while waiting to pay for my groceries. And I’m not the only person

not buying the publication who steals a read every now and then.

Research indicates that more than 16 million people each week take a

look at a copy of the Enquirer.

While Andy Warhol promised everyone their 15 minutes of fame, advanced

societies have voracious appetites for the dirt on the truly famous.

With headlines such as ‘Cher lost six babies’, ‘Debbie Reynolds catches

husband with his mistress’ and ‘Sean Connery caught with young beauty’

how can one help but steal a peek into the lives of celebs?

So why advertise in such a publication? The tabloids deliver among the

lowest costs per thousand in the business for reaching America’s core

supermarket shopper - women shoppers with large families. The

publications deliver in print an audience that can be reached very

easily via television.

But even in a media world dominated by TV, print has a role. In these

pages you find ads for cigarettes, prescription remedies (as well as

miracle cure offers), vitamins, fragrances, lots of direct-marketed

collectables (‘Five convenient monthly payments of dollars 19.95’ for a

porcelain doll), TV programmes and movies and, of course, plenty of

packaged goods found in the supermarket.

The O. J. Simpson trial saw the Enquirer breaking stories that the

‘respectable’ press then followed. In a world where tabloid journalism

has become the norm, the Enquirer and its brethren are finally being

recognised as news leaders, albeit in their specific areas of coverage.

From where this reader sits (or stands, in the case of checkout lines),

I’ll take my celebrity news from the Enquirer - I prefer to get my

celebrity dirt from journalists who are not afraid of telling all.

Steve Klein is the managing partner and media director of the New York

advertising agency, Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners


Focus On National Enquirer’


The National Enquirer celebrated its 25-year anniversary last month and

is still going strong

Circulation                 2.6 million

Subscriptions                   400,000

Total weekly audience     16.47 million

Median age                         38.3

% Female                           66.2