Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Filling the House

Posted by Scott On June - 4 - 2010

The opening night Marquee Event for the 2010 MagNet Conference was a standing-room only sell-out.

David Granger, the innovative editor of Esquire, delivered an inspirational presentation for Canada’s best and brightest magazine professionals.

Think Ketchup, Granger told the audience. While the stuff inside the old glass bottle has always been great, finding a better packaging device, like the new upside down squeeze bottle, makes a great product even better.


For those in attendance, the buzz was electric, as Granger shared highlights and insights from his collaboration with the editorial team, design team, production team, advertisers and senior management at Hearst.

The presentation was candid and personally revealing, as Granger spoke about “desperation, despair and disillusionment” being a driving force that editors use (if they are any good) to fuel creativity and innovation.

While Granger made it crystal clear that great content is key to Esquire’s success (referencing a recent article about Roger Ebert, which resulted in over “800,000 people reading the story online)”, much of his presentation focused on packaging. Many of Granger’s best-selling covers hit the screen in all their glory.


Jul 2007 Jolie

As the MagNet brochure pointed out:

“Granger’s uncompromising—and sometimes contentious—vision about the role of covers has earned Esquire a reputation as being unafraid to push the envelope. Esquire merged an innovative digital technology with a mass-produced print product be embedding an electronic paper display in its 75th Anniversary issue. In early 2009, Esquire again entered into the fray by putting a ‘trap door’ in its cover and then creating the first ever ‘mix-‘n-match’ magazine cover.”

Granger dazzled the audience when he demonstrated his “augmented reality” interactive magazine. Canadian editors, art directors, publishers and circulators were salivating.

During the Q & A that followed, a brave soul questioned why so much of the presentation revolved around packaging as opposed to content, as if to suggest that packaging was fluff.

Granger must have had to bite his tongue to remain polite. After all, since assuming the editorship in June of 1997 Esquire has won 13 National Magazine Awards and has been a finalist for 47. Remaining composed, Granger pointed out that great packaging helps “fill the house” with readers. Ultimately, that’s the job editors are hired to achieve. He went on say that he hates focus groups, because “I don’t want to give people what they want. I want to give them what they never could have expected.”

Let there be no doubt about it, David Granger gets it.

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Scott Bullock’s Newsstand Cover Quiz Show is legendary in the industry. Using covers as the catalyst, this interactive and entertaining format is a light-hearted but hard-hitting spin on Packaging 101. Testing the cover savvy of magazine professionals across disciplines, the Quiz Show pits publishers against editors, circulators against art directors, retailers against wholesalers -- ultimately leading to new common ground in the quest for better covers. Scott is the Owner of Circ3, Smart Circulation Solutions, a circulation consultancy. www.circ3.com

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