By now you’ve probably seen the “Power of Print” double spread in your favorite magazines. The ad, a joint effort spearheaded by the heads of five major publishing companies (Hearst, Meredith, Time Inc., Wenner Media and Condé Nast), compares surfing the Internet to, well, surfing, and likens reading a hard copy of a magazine to a relaxing swim. Double-page spreads capture attention, especially in these times, and the “Power of Print” campaign has done just that, especially with media writers and bloggers.
The Wall Street Journal and trade journals tend to understand the logic; bloggers, not so much. Take Gawker’s Ravi Somaiya, for example, who calls the campaign the “most pointless ad in history,” because it is aimed at people already reading print. Holy missed point, Batman. Rather than preaching to the choir, so to speak, the ads are in fact targeting advertisers and media insiders to remind them that, yes, people still read print.
According to a recent survey by the Chief Marketing Officer Council, quoted in Adweek, a whopping 90 percent of respondents said they prefer print to online versions of the magazines they subscribe to and 92 percent of respondents subscribed to at least one magazine. Now, of course, polls are generally drawn from pools of people who are already inclined to think a certain way (which is the only way to explain results of some political polls), but it is worth noting–as Adweek’s Mark Dolliver did–that these respondents were not typewriter-using-and-cassette-listening Luddites.
In other words, it makes perfect sense to remind advertisers that, despite all the hype about apps and e-readers, many of us–in fact, most of us–still enjoy cozying up with a hard copy of our favorite periodicals. This isn’t to say that we don’t like being online (obviously!) or the joy of following links and clicking on videos; it’s just a reminder that we also like diving into a good issue.
Meanwhile, a new ad in the “Power of Print” campaign debuts in June 2010 issues. I first saw it in the June House Beautiful magazine. This new ad pulls readers in by engaging them in a little interactive game, print style.
It’s sort of like graphic Mad Libs, with pictures of magazine covers inserted in the (large-print) copy with the magazines’ logo/name filling in the blanks. “From SEVENTEEN through their SUNSET years, folks are reading MORE magazines than just a few years ago,” the ad tells us.
Nicely done. As for the official “Power of Print” video, hmm. If it shows anything, it’s that the publishers are all business (and also should not quit their day jobs anytime soon–which is, one supposes, the whole point of the ads).
By the way, if the snappy “Magazines” logo caught your eye, you might have noticed something familiar about some of the letters; they were taken from the logos of eight magazines.