A dramatic decline in magazine ad buys from companies selling toiletries played a major role in the 12.2% drop in third quarter sales for the country’s leading consumer magazines. According to a report on major ad categories compiled by Leading National Advertisers Canada (LNA), toiletry ad dollars were down 24.9% in the third quarter of 2008, compared to the same period last year, representing about $11 million in lost revenue for the magazine industry. Pages (including inserts and supplements) were down 27%.
(LNA currently tracks ad pages and revenues for 81 magazines, including all consumer titles published by Rogers Publishing, Transcontinental Media, St. Joseph Media, TVA Publications, House & Home Media and Quarto Communications. Revenue calculations are based strictly on public rate card figures and do not account for discounting or deals between publishers and advertisers.)
Toiletry products is the top category for magazine advertising among LNA-tracked titles. Last year, the category represented 22% of total sales. Women’s magazines are the primary vehicles for these ads and the loss of these dollars in part explains the third quarter drop at magazines such as Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Flare, Glow,
More*, Fashion and others. Advertising for toiletries has in fact been down all year, with page count drops of 11.3% in Q1 and 3.5% in Q2. Toiletry advertisers include Proctor & Gamble, L’Oreal Canada, Johnson & Johnson and Revlon Canada. Procter & Gamble—the country's top advertiser for decades—slashed its ad budget by 20% in the second quarter, according to Advertising Age.
The third quarter of 2008 also saw companies allocating smaller dollar amounts to magazine media buys promoting food products (-$2.5 million), retail stores (-$1.9 million), confectionery, snacks and soft drinks (-$1.8 million), sporting good and toys (-$1.2 million) and associations (-$1 million). And perhaps not surprisingly, buys for publishing and media declined by $2.8 million as well.
While several ad categories did grow in the third quarter of 2008, only two had gains in excess of one million dollars: Travel, hotels and resorts (up $4.5 million) and business and consumer services (up $3.9 million).
*The calculated third quarter decline at More was not apples-to-apples; an issue that was tracked as part of the third quarter in 2007 was tracked as part of the second quarter this year. According to national sales manager Monica Drexler, ad pages for More were actually up by 20% in the third quarter.