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.

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

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

Special bonus rexblog feature


magazine news
<b>Special bonus rexblog feature:</b> Earlier today, <a href=”http://rexblog.com/2004/11/21#a4768″>I blogged</a> a report from a Bentonville, Ark., newspaper regarding the special customized cover and editorial section appearing in issues of <a href=”http://www.luckymag.com”>Lucky Magazine</a> sold in <a href=”http://www.walmart.com”>Wal-Mart</a>s. 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 <i>not</i> labeled an advertorial section and that is marketed on the newsstand with a cover-flap feature the place-of-purchase. I’m sure there are others, but the closest I can come is the way in which annual magazines that preview sports seasons (from Athlon and others) feature custom covers highlighting the local franchise. Yet this 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 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.

<center><table border=0 width=300 align=center>
<tr><td><a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky1.jpg”><a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky2.jpg”><img src=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky1.jpg” width=140 height=200 border=0 alt=”cue”></a> <a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky2.jpg”><img src=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky2.jpg” width=145 height=200 border=0 alt=”cue”></a><br><center><a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky1.jpg”>Regular Lucky</a> (left) <a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky2.jpg”>Wal-Mart Lucky</a> (right)<br><br><i>(click either to enlarge)</i></center></a></td></tr></table>
<br><br><table border=0 width=600 align=center><tr><td><a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky3.jpg”><img src=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky3.jpg” width=140 height=200 border=0 alt=”cue”> </a> <a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky4.jpg”><img src=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky4.jpg” width=140 height=200 border=0 alt=”cue”> </a><a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky5.jpg”><img src=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky5.jpg” width=140 height=200 border=0 alt=”cue”></a> <a href=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky6.jpg”><img src=”http://idisk.mac.com/rexhammock/Public/lucky6.jpg” width=145 height=200 border=0 alt=”cue”></a><br><br>The four-page “Lucky Shops Wal-Mart Bonus Section”</center></a></td></tr></table></center>
Special bonus rexblog feature

They’re explitives

cue cue

They’re expletives: I sometimes wish all competing magazines were as transparent in their disgust for one-another as the the hip-hop-zines The Source and XXL. The NY Post’s Monica McCollum explains the “war of words” the magazines are waging.

Quote:

“I think I started that [the verbal attacks],” (XXL’s editor Elliott) Wilson admitted. “I dissed them in editorials. I said they were king and I wanted to beat them. I haven’t done that in about a year, but now they are dissing me. The beef did get petty. That is when I had to say this isn’t worth that. I don’t need to hurt them. They are hurting themselves.”

Come on, Time and Newsweek. Quit being wimps. Let’s hear some trash talk.

A glimpse of glory: There was a time (and will be again) when the Tennessee Titans would find a way — no matter how ugly — to win. One of the frustrated victims of this Titans magic was the Jacksonville Jaguars, who year-after-year always found themselves holding the wrong end of the ugly win stick. And then, well, this year happened and the Titans took a 3-6 record into a road-game, division match-up against the 6-3 Jags, who had already beaten the Titans in Nashville. Seconds ago, at the end of a rather uninspiring game, the banged-up Titans found a way to beat the Jaguars 18-15. Let us give thanks.

Is Lucky pioneering a new form of custom publishing?

cue
cue

Is Lucky pioneering a new form of custom publishing? The wall between “traditional” and “custom” magazine publishing seems to be blurring even more through a creative arrangement being pioneered between Conde Nast’s Lucky magazine and Wal-mart. While I’ve blogged many times about the strategy of magazines trying to utilize the 800-lb. gorilla distribution channel of Wal-Mart, the local newspaper in Bentonville, Ark. is the surprising source of this news about a unique magazine strategy: Apparently, copies of Lucky magazine sold in Wal-Mart include a special section called “Lucky Shops Wal-Mart.”

Quote from the Northwest Arkansas News:

“Since Wal-Mart is the biggest retailer in the country and we were the first and biggest shopping magazine, we figured it would be a good match,” said Lucky Magazine fashion editor Liz Kiernan….”Lucky Shops Wal-Mart” is a four-page section in the back of Lucky Magazines sold at Wal-Mart. A 3 1/2-inch flap on the cover advertises the Wal-Mart section, which is not available in issues sold elsewhere. The four pages are dedicated to beauty, home decor and fashion. “We pick out our favorite items and put them in the layout,” said Kiernan, who oversees the two fashion pages. Lucky started the section one year ago, and has added a Wal-Mart section to roughly eight of the last 12 issues. “It’s considered cool to find inexpensive clothes at Lucky — that’s sort of the philosophy around here,” Kiernan said.

The reporter, perhaps because she is writing for a “local” newspaper, actually gets an amazing amount of information from the typically tight-lipped folks at Wal-Mart and Conde Nast. For example, she reports that the 4-page section has helped to increase by 76 percent the number of Lucky issues (units) sold in Wal-Mart during last year, to 23,000 copies a month. (I’ll skip over my typical rant regarding reporters and numbers and not ask why she didn’t make the obvious observation that 23,000 copies of the magazine is only about seven copies of Lucky per each of the 3,200 stores, per month — not such of a blockbuster performance.)

Despite appearing to be an advertorial section, the article implies “Lucky Shops Wal-Mart” is not paid-for by Wal-Mart: “Lucky usually contacts Wal-Mart with specific items in mind. ‘They usually know what the trends are,’ said Suzanne Haney with Wal-Mart Corporate Communications.” Is it paid for? Is it an advertorial? The article does not make this clear.

Very interesting article that raises lots of questions: How is the ROI measured by Lucky? What is the increase in net revenues from the 23,000 copies jn return for the in-kind value (if not paid-for) of four-pages of custom, advertorial content and a 3 1/2-inch flap promo that sprinkles the Lucky-brand karma-pixie-dust onto the Wal-mart brand? Is it worth it? The seven readers of the rexblog want to know!

Update: I have posted scans of the issue in a new post.