Media: Double Standards - 'Magazines are changing to fit into people's lives'

Two consumer publishing chiefs discuss how they plan to extend their brands into non-traditional advertising bases, and what it is that makes magazines so influential.

IAN TOURNES - group trading director, IPC Media

- What is the strongest title you are selling at present?

All 81 titles that we publish are strong in their own right. Otherwise, no-one would spend money to buy them. The beauty of magazines is that readers choose to buy and engage in the medium, rather than just use it as a background while they are doing other things.

- To what extent are advertisers realising the potential of the online products you offer?

Our online products have allowed us to extend our brand count into a non-traditional advertiser base, while also offering our core advertising base new avenues. Great examples over the past year are Fosters' relationship with the Nuts "Pub Ammo" franchise, and Shockwaves' continued and hugely successful partnership with the NME Awards.

- What's the most creative idea you've come up with for an advertiser in the past year?

My favourite is the campaign we ran for Aunt Bessie's, which was creative in its use of through-the-line communication; it demonstrated that we're not just about display advertising. The campaign delivered traditional display and advertorial solutions in magazines; point-of-sale material (targeting lapsed consumers through Dunhumby data) and also used our editorial staff by running an Aunt Bessie's "cooking day" with all of our food editors. There was also a digital element to the campaign on AOL.

- Has the role of magazines in cross-media deals lived up to the hype?

Magazines, like all media, have unique selling points. Magazines have the ability to bring a campaign alive like few media platforms can, and they're great at extending the communication conversation. The vision of a woman relaxing and reading a magazine with a cup of tea encapsulates the "me time" element of magazines.

- Why should we be excited about consumer magazines in 2007?

More launches are inevitable. Not least Look, which will deliver something new to advertisers: a premium glossy weekly, targeting young women between 18 and 30 who love celebrity style and want to emulate it through the high street. What magazines are great at is finding a gap in the market, but also at finding a market in the gap. No-one understands audiences more than magazines.

- Describe your approach to dealing with agencies.

Firm but fair. Although we are the biggest consumer magazine company, we are under no illusions - we have to work hard to prove our worth on media schedules.

- Who is the most inspirational sales person you've dealt with?

It's hard to pinpoint just one person. Both the agencies and media owners have persuasive sales people. The ideal sales person would have integrity, creativity, enthusiasm, a "can-do" attitude and a sense of humour.

- Which magazines are the most popular in your household?

Witches and CBeebies for the kids; Marie Claire and Ideal Home for Mrs T; The Week, Decanter and The Economist for me.

- What's your main ambition for the year ahead?

Increase consumer magazines' share of the advertising cake, and within that IPC's share of consumer magazines.

- If you weren't working at IPC/Emap, where would you want to be?

Marketing director of the Barbados Cricket Association!

JASON TROUT - magazine sales director, Emap Advertising

- What is the strongest title you are selling at present?

I didn't realise this was an exam! They are all strong, from our new launch, First, all the way through to Kerrang!, which recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary. In particular, Grazia's powerful editorial proposition and unique advertising mix has captured the zeitgeist.

- To what extent are advertisers realising the potential of the online products you offer?

Increasingly, advertisers are reaching consumers through the brands that they engage with. Many of our magazine brands have online and mobile channels, and advertisers are combining them all to follow the consumer.

- What's the most creative idea you've come up with for an advertiser in the past year?

My personal favourite has to be the Xbox 360/FHM Global Challenge that launched in issues of FHM across Europe at the end of last year. We've given readers a chance to fly around the globe with some High Street Honeys at their side, battling it out against international competitors in real-life challenges based on Xbox 360 games - talk about living the dream!

- Has the role of magazines in cross-media deals lived up to the hype?

Not sure about the "hype". However, they remain the backbone to some of the big deals we have done this year. Longer-term partnerships with clients who evolve their execution along with the magazine are more prevalent. We have done this with clients on the back of changing consumer insight feedback.

- Why should we be excited about consumer magazines in 2007?

More than 36 million adults read a magazine regularly, and the number of readers aged 15 to 24 has risen over the past five years. Magazines are changing to fit into people's lives, the women's weekly market is evidence of this, plus, you'll never have to worry about screen size or battery life.

- Describe your approach to dealing with agencies.

We have always worked closely with agencies to deliver excellent customer service, inspiring consumer insight and strong creativity. With consumers increasingly taking control over their media choices, we will work even closer together to shape effective media solutions.

- Who is the most inspirational sales person you've dealt with?

Tom Toumazis. I was unconscious in hospital having 13 stitches in my head and he tried to convince my mum that I should return to work the next day. Needless to say my mum was not impressed, but he inspired me in a concussed kind of way.

- Which magazines are the most popular in your household?

Mostly Grazia, Heat, Arena, Empire and Q. Someone keeps putting Trout and Salmon Magazine on my desk, which I think is supposed to be funny. Viz has its moments, too.

- What's your main ambition for the year ahead?

To reduce my golf handicap down to single figures, and to do a skydive.

- If you weren't working at IPC/Emap, where would you want to be?

I would be the fifth member of U2 and tour the world. Before the next studio album, I would take up my position on the USPGA Tour and beat Tiger Woods (on my Xbox)!

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