Monday, October 29, 2012

The team at Maclean’s just keeps having fun. Perhaps this is why the Maclean’s franchise and brand still resonates in Canada, while sadly Newsweek has called it quits (at least for its print product).

Here’s some promotional copy from the web:

“He is the world's most infamous secret agent. From the moment James Bond appeared on screen in 1962’s Dr. No, he has been an icon: the crisp, suave master spy, fuelled by vodka martinis and his insatiable appetite for action. To celebrate 50 years of Bond films, Maclean’s presents a special commemorative edition of all things 007. We look at the women, the villains, the cars, guns and gadgets behind the longest-running franchise in film history. Plus Brian D. Johnson examines the evolution of the movies, Sir Roger Moore reveals his favourite Bond and the newest star, Daniel Craig, explains what makes Bond tick.”

I’ll lift a vodka martini to that…

The issue went on sale October 8th, with a cover price of $12.95.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The December 2012 issue of Canadian Yachting is set to hit newsstands November 19th, 2012.

The Art Director, Petra Dueck, had this to say about the cover:

“I’m quite happy with this issue’s cover, and I do think we successfully communicated our theme: “Electronics 2012 – State of Art”. We planned and shot a custom photo which is on theme, on brand (conveying a lifestyle feel), and tells a story. It is easy to default to a catalog looking image of electronics but we managed to avoid this and stay editorial! Our attention is drawn to the electronics in the photo through the graphic design and the main coverline is unmistakable compared to the rest and communicates the theme clearly in one word, in one glance.”

The magazine publishes a West coast edition plus their classic Regular edition. 

“Ad sales in 2012 are up 57% year over year, say’s John Kerr, CEO.  “This has resulted in book sizes that are larger, which gives readers a bigger and better reading experience. We listened to our subscribers who told us they still love print and want the escape from their computers while living on board and we have been selling it hard. The re-investment in perfect binding and issue size is paying dividends across the board.”

Canadian Yachting has been on a roll in 2012. It’s the only title in its category showing single copy sales increases in the first half of the year, on issues that are sales final. 

  • The Feb 2012 issue up 177%
  • The Apr 2012 issue up 315%
  • The June 2012 issue up 545%

Upgraded binding + better cover and interior stock = selling more ads = selling more single copies.

Disclosure:  Canadian Yachting is a client of

Thursday, October 25, 2012
While browsing my local newsstand the other day, I stumbled upon Toronto Home, and promptly bought two copies. The first was an SIP on Kitchens, the second had a cover feature on Country Homes.

Each issue is 130 pages thick, oversized wide trim, on fabulous glossy stock. The art direction, both inside and out, by Mark Ruzayk, is outstanding. The issues are packed with excellent editorial and mouth watering, inspirational spreads.

The magazine retails for $5.95, a true bargain price for this quality product.

“This autumn marks the first anniversary of the launch of Toronto Home magazine. We have been blessed with a wonderful reception in Toronto by readers and advertisers. Demand for the magazine continues to increase both on the newsstand and through subscriptions. We hope to continue to provide Torontonians for many years to come with a bird’s-eye view into some of the finest interiors the city has to offer,” says Leah Lipkovitz, Publisher.

Toronto Home is the sister magazine of Montreal Home, launched three years ago. The goal is eventually to create a national network of home magazines. Plans are in the works to make a move into Vancouver next.

According to sales data, the first issue sold at a 42% efficiency in Toronto…the second issue sold 53%, even with the draw doubled. Impressive. This is one to watch.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Laas Turnbull was hired in August of 2010 with the task of improving the fortunes of Eye Weekly (now The Grid)

Owned by Torstar, the weekly appeared to be floundering, against the venerable NOW magazine. 

But it appears momentum may have shifted.

According to Leading National Advertisers (LNA) data, ad pages were in decline:

  • 2008…1,009 pages
  • 2009…902 pages, down 11%
  • 2010…735 pages, down 19%
  • 2011…708 pages, down 4%…and a cumulative slide of 301 pages or nearly 30%

But after a bold new re-design and re-branding, which debuted in May 2011, The Grid has won many awards, including cover of the year at the National Magazine Awards, and, perhaps more importantly, is winning back advertisers.

“When we set out to launch The Grid, we wanted to create a sexy, immersive environment for advertisers. We also wanted to be as creative on the client side as we hoped to be on the product side. I think we’ve very quickly established a reputation in the agency community for generating really fun, energetic, creative ideas that we can execute both quickly and at a high level. More and more, we find that agencies come to us when they want something unusual and impactful,” says Laas Turnbull, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.

According to LNA data, The Grid has sold 717 ad pages from Jan–Sep 2012…up from 481 pages in the same period in 2011…that’s an increase of 236 pages or a 49% improvement. That’s huge. And the 4th quarter could see even bigger gains.

On top of this, The Grid decided to stop accepting “adult classified” ads, a very lucrative, but controversial category of ads, that NOW magazine continues to carry, despite it’s so-called “progressive" editorial slant.

NOW’s ad sales, according to LNA, have been in a steady decline since 2007.

  • 2007…2,385 pages
  • 2008…2,130 pages, down 11%
  • 2009…2,057 pages, down 3.4%
  • 2010…1,991 pages, down 3.2%
  • 2011…1,841 pages, down 7.5%, and cumulative loss of 23% since 2007
  • 2012 year to date ad pages are flat….almost identical to 2011 Jan-Sep at 1,330

However, “adult classified” ads are not counted by LNA, so that represents potentially huge revenue for NOW. Perhaps the LNA data suggests that ad agencies are starting to grow weary, or are simply embarrassed, about having their brands associated with “adult classifieds”.

[See how The Grid and NOW stack up in the most recent Masthead Top 50 magazines list.]

Thursday, October 11, 2012
An eagle-eyed editor, and loyal reader of shared this unfortunate cover with me yesterday. 99.9% of the time I feature covers that I believe are inspirational, and are examples of excellence in our craft. I try very hard to keep the tone of this blog positive, not critical. 

But occassionally, it is important to also point out some simple things that are instructive to avoid doing. Be careful of unintended outcomes.

While I love it when publishers, editors and art directors have the guts to position an image layered over the logo (which demonstrates confidence in the brand), as it helps create depth and 3D punch — you have to be careful.

The mis-reading of a single vowel could have a rather embarrassing result… something advertisers just might not want to be associated with… particularly in hotel rooms and lobbys. What did you say you were selling Madam?  Hopefully this will serve as a somewhat humourous reminder to slow down before going to press.

About Me
Scott Bullock

Scott Bullock is the the creator of Bullock has worked as circulation director for both consumer and B2B magazines including Toronto Life and FASHION. If you have a great cover to share, please send all submissions to 

Note to readers: some of Bullock's posts may refer to his clients.
Most Recent Blog Comment
Kelly says:
Any news on how it performed on newsstands?...
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