Special bonus rexblog feature

Special bonus rexblog feature: Earlier today, I blogged a report from a Bentonville, Ark., newspaper regarding the special customized cover and editorial section appearing in issues of Lucky Magazine sold in Wal-Marts. As the only “history of custom publishing” I can search is my memory, I’ve been trying to rack my brain to recall another instance in which a magazine has run such a special section that is not labeled an advertorial section and that is marketed on the newsstand with a cover-flap featuring the place-of-purchase. I’m sure there are others, but the closest I can think of are annual sports season previews (from Athlon and others) that feature custom covers highlighting the local franchise or university. However, the Wal-Mart Lucky is a concept that uses the magazine’s cover to specifically promote the retailer in which the magazine is being sold…and includes an “editorial” section, produced by the editorial staff of the magazine, that features products found at the retailer.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that (in Lucky’s case, at least) there is any editorial integrity issues in question here. It’s Lucky Magazine, after all. It’s a bold move, I must say, and it takes product placement to new heights — the cover. And as I said in my previous post, I have my doubts about the ROI on such an effort, if, as implied in the article, there is no revenue beyond the incremental magazine units sold at Wal-Mart (if the numbers reported are correct).

But I had to go pick up a copy for myself. And, as a service to the seven readers of the rexblog, I scanned in the pages below so you can check out the Wal-Mart Lucky version for yourselves. Click on any image to enlarge.

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Regular Lucky (left) Wal-Mart Lucky (right)

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The four-page “Lucky Shops Wal-Mart” bonus section
  • Hudge

    Is it just your scanning abilities or is the model’s face on the walmart cover slightly longer and narrower than on the regular Lucky cover? The pix are subtly different.
    As for taking it to the cover, I recall a flap a few years back when a truck builder created a “belly-band” to wrap around trucking magazines to plug a new model. Created all sorts of stink about product placement and selling the cover.

  • rex

    It’s my lack of scanning abilities. They’re actually the same cover, just with the “flap” covering the Wal-Mart cover. I think when you click through to the larger photos, my distortion in sizing the smaller images is less noticable.

  • lcreekmo

    Am dying to know more details on this one. Question: What would be the benefit to Wal-Mart of paying? 1. Look hip, some good PR w/ young trendy women. OK, that’s not bad. What would be the benefit to Lucky to doing this? 1. Increase sell-through at Wal-Mart.

    I think the upside is much, much greater for Lucky [and obviously much more quantifiable]. If Wal-Mart IS paying, I wonder if it’s even based on whether Lucky is helping move product — another potential benefit to WM.

  • lcreekmo

    One more note — don’t mean to suggest that this is in any way a BAD deal for WM — it’s totally not. I think there is upside for everyone. But when you do a deal with the 800-lb. gorilla of retailing, they will always bring more to the table than you will.

  • rex

    I think it’s rather obvious (via a reading between the lines of the article linked to) that Wal-Mart is not paying anything beyond what might be a multi-insert commitment to a schedule of ads in Conde Nast magazines…and probably not that, even. No, I think this is what it appears to be: a newsstand circ marketing effort. And I agree, Wal-Mart always wins.