Cover treatment

Cover treatment: (First, some disclosure: I’ve been known to mock methodology similar to that about to be described. So please, those of you who have heard me use that old adage, “a camel is a horse designed by committee,” or ridicule the misapplication of consumer research by those who should know better, please don’t jump to the conclusion that I believe the following story should have been saved for April 1.)

According to a press release from the company NameQuest, “the magazine Better Homes and Gardens is the first publishing company to use an innovative new magazine cover research method designed to “catch the eye” of the consumer.”


Research indicates that 80 percent of consumer magazines’ newsstand sales are determined by what is on the cover. The decision-making process at the point-of-purchase (the newsstand) is short. The average potential reader spends only three to five seconds scanning a magazine cover before deciding to buy. When it comes to newsstand and in-store sales time is money.

NameQuest’s Online Ideal Magazine Cover™ (patent pending) is the first and only research methodology that engages the consumer directly in the custom creation of the ideal magazine cover. Utilizing the most advanced Internet-based expertise, publishing companies now have available essential person-brand interactivity in the development of an “eye-catching” magazine cover.

The method for conducting the interactive Ideal Magazine Cover research is to use the “drag and drop” cursor function to build the perfectly designed magazine cover by stacking various pre-selected elements until the final magazine cover design is completed.

Respondents are selected from a pool of consumers and are provided with qualified access to the NameQuest Online website. Each respondent begins the process by first selecting the most “eye-catching” cover photography.

The respondent then selects main story lines and secondary story subjects by dragging and dropping on to the selected cover photo. The final result is that the respondent constructs the ideal magazine cover. Data generated from this methodology include purchase intent ratings and consumer impressions of the cover photography or art and the story line content.

Rather than comment on the merit of the research modality described (I have no idea what that means, but it’s the way researchers talk and I’ve heard a few), I’d like, rather, to correct what is an obvioius mistake in the press release. That is, the following statement:

When it comes to newsstand and in-store sales time is money.

For the record, when in comes to newsstand and in-stores sales, time is not money; time actually owns money. Most of the time, on the newsstand, time and money are quite a ways apart from one another.