Is the word ‘magazine’ taboo?


Samir Husni (Mr. Magazine) posts a rant about the publishers of Ladies Home Journal’s apparent attempt to rebrand Ladies Home Journal into LHJ. In marketing material to advertisers, the word “magazine” is mentioned only once but the magazine is referred to as a “national media brand” several times.


Now, the folks working at Ladies’ Home Journal may fondly refer to the magazine as LHJ, but do they really think the readers outside the magazine’s offices refer to the magazine as LHJ? If we are truly in the process of reinventing ourselves and reintroducing ourselves, should we make it easier for the readers to find our brand or should we make it harder? I hope that this test is not a sign of what “reintroducing Meredith” is going to be. Ladies’ Home Journal is a much bigger brand in the women’s magazine field to be reintroduced as LHJ… and so are the remaining magazines published by Meredith. I hope that the word “magazine” is not going to be a “taboo” in the vocabulary of the “Reintroduced Meredith” and the same is true for Ladies’ Home Journal. There is a big difference between a “brand experience” and a “magazine experience.” Please do keep the “magazine experience” well and alive and the “brand experience” will follow.

As our company has been in a two-year process of conveying the message that our services extend beyond magazine publishing (they always have), I nonetheless feel that my job also involves explaining, whenever possible, why magazines are a powerful facet of a multi-channelled conversational marketing approach. (#1 Lesson to learn from great brands like Nike and Apple: More media channels are better than fewer media channels.)

While I champion digital media and all forms of community-building online, I’m not running away from magazines.

Bonus: Not that you asked, but on another front, I think a two-inch video embedded on the page of a magazine is right up (down?) there with scratch and sniff: a clever gimmick in unique circumstances but not the future of magazines.

Bonus (addendum): When I saw the news that Entertainment Weekly was embedding 2 inch video screens in an upcoming issue of the magazine, it made me wonder (once again) why magazine publishers would rather resort to gimmicks than exploit the power of the medium they have. Let me stress this point: Video is not what’s missing from print magazines: great editing and design and passion and smart business people are what’s missing from magazines.

However, that’s not to say that there are not lots of ways one can use technology, innovation and fun to create experiences unique to print and the technology sitting on people’s desks: