Mine magazine is not exactly ‘my’ way

I just posted a set of photos of the first issue of Mine Magazine on Flickr (or view, left). Last month, I wrote about the “customizable” magazine Time Inc. has created for advertiser Lexus. As I wrote then, the idea is not new, but the concept is creative: a customizable magazine to echo the “branding message” of the Lexus RX — a brand they apparently started out to customize for me, but somehow forgot to add the “e” in the middle.

31,000 readers got the print version (am I lucky, or what?) and another 200,000 could get a swell PDF version. (Aren’t you lucky? Only 199,000 have signed up.)

The readers can select content appearing in five titles from eight published by subsidiaries of Time Inc. and American Express Co.: Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf, and Travel + Leisure. Each issue will contain content selected by editors that correspond with the personal choices of the readers. There are 56 editorial combinations in all (the Lexus SUV has 22 customizable advertising message settings, plus eight options handled by a dealer).

My take: It’s nice — and a lot better than a conventional Lexus ad. But frankly, it looks like what you’d expect a magazine full of re-purposed content would look like. And those full page section heads are an exercise in corner-cutting “free edit.” And as for it being a project that portends the future: Not.

Later: A few hours after posting this, I received the following “mass” e-mail that, apparently, was sent to subscribers:

Dear Rex,

Thank you for subscribing to mine magazine. We want to let you know that a computer error may have affected the first issue you received this week. It’s possible that this issue did not contain the combination of magazine content you selected. Please know that the problem has been resolved, and that each of your subsequent issues will reflect the exact content you originally requested.

In appreciation of your support, we have extended your five-issue subscription to include a sixth free issue of mine. You can also access real-time mine content through your smartphone device at http://mine.mwap.at.

We apologize for the inconvenience and, again, thank you for being among the very first to experience mine.

Best regards,

Wayne Powers
President, Time Inc. Media Group

Dear Wayne. As the subscription was free and I can’t recall the combination of magazine content I selected, I am happy to report that I was not inconvenienced.

  • mag_enthusiast

    I agree with your take on the magazine. I actually signed up for this myself and although I think it is a clever idea, I thought the finished product was very ho-hum. It actually sort of reminded me of the final project for the magazine design class I had back in college. After receiving my first issue, I was kind of bummed; all that hype and it was already screwed up. I couldn’t remember my exact magazine combination either, but I know it didn’t include Golf and Sports Illustrated. Then I remembered it was free and tossed it on the coffee table with the other magazines. We’ll see how the next one goes…

  • Shannon

    I just got my apology email a few hours ago. It’s funny because last night when I was looking through my first issue, I thought, “That’s funny…I don’t remember Golf Digest being one of my picks.” William remarked that maybe I was making the magazine “ours” and picked it for him instead. Now I know what happened. I wonder when the error was caught.

  • Hi Rex – Thanks for putting up the photos on flickr. Much appreciated. I was really excited about this launch (I work with a company that helps publishers create automated digital publications that are completely personalized), but it certainly seems to have not delivered on the promise of a magazine that is “Mine”. A good step in the right direction – although unfortunately I assume this was driven by Lexus’ marketing team rather than a move within Time Inc to innovative in cross-title publishing.