Covers Sell

Covers Sell


Posted by admin On May - 28 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Aug/Sep 2014 issue of Canada’s History is scheduled to hit newsstands on July 28th, 2014.

This cover took a lot of back and forth with the cover team, with 3 rounds of refinements to reach the polished version below.

The cover feature is a series of short snippets from  eye-witnesses reports/diaries to some seminal moments in Canada’s history.  But how to communicate this concept with an image and just a few words?

Art Director James Gillespie found this classic image, which allowed us to build the story around it and effectively communicate the offering.

Here’s what James had to say about this cover: “Benjamin West’s painting of The Death of General Wolfe is a brilliantly executed adaptation of a very important event in Canada’s History. The lighting and the composition make it particularly suited for cover use. The image on the cover is only a detail of a much larger painting contained within the August-September issue of Canada’s History magazine.”

And here is what Publisher Melony Ward had to say about this cover:  “As a history magazine, we are limited by the fact that photography has only existed for about 200 years. We are fortunate to have access to a treasure trove of paintings that depict important historical events. The August/September issue features a richly colourful masterwork on the cover – The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West. Wolfe died in 1759 on the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, and West’s work, painted about a decade later, used a fair bit of artistic license to dramatic effect. Art director James Gillespie has done a terrific job using the classic triangular composition to direct attention to the main cover line.”

Outdoor Canada Boldly Goes Retro

Posted by admin On May - 22 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Summer 2014 issue of Outdoor Canada is scheduled to hit newsstands on June 8th, 2014.  This retro cover is a bold and gutsy gamble that is praiseworthy.

Sandra Cheung, art director, Outdoor Canada, says, “The summer issue offers an ideal opportunity to have fun and try something different. I love taking a risk, so it’s going to be very exciting to see how it does on the newsstand. I’m sure it’ll make a big splash!”

And from Editor-in-Chief Patrick Walsh, “We’ve been wanting to execute a cover like this for a few years now… our inspiration coming from the men’s action magazines of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  I’m sure it will create a buzz in our category.”

You may recall that last year’s Summer 2013 issue also was playful, and it resulted in newsstands sales increasing by 73%.  This of course sets the bar very high for this year’s version.

NOW Does it Again

Posted by admin On May - 20 - 20141 COMMENT

NOW Magazine has a long history of “borrowing” cover ideas from American magazines.

I’ve written about this many times before.

Is this “referencing” other magazines ideas and images?

The issue of NOW that is on stands vs. September 8th, 2014 The NY Times Magazine is the latest example:

Check it out:

Here’s some of the others:

Ultimate Camping

Posted by admin On May - 16 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Summer 2014 issue of British Columbia Magazine is scheduled to hit newsstands on June 16th, 2014.

Art Director Ken Seabrook.

Cottage Life West (Winner!)

Posted by admin On May - 15 - 20141 COMMENT

When Cottage Life magazine acquired Cottage magazine, the decision was made to re-brand the magazine as Cottage Life West.

Here’s what Editor Penny Caldwell had to say:  “Our objective with the Cottage Life West edition was to provide cottage and cabin owners in Western Canada with content exclusive to their region, which broadly covers Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. The editor and regional sales team are based in BC. It is a strategy that is supported by the successful new Edmonton Cottage Life and Cabin Show that debuted in April.”

Here are the covers:

The first is the 2014 04 issue, which went on sale March 24, 2014.  The second issue is the 2014 05 issue, which went on sale May 5th, 2014.  You’ll also see the old covers from 2013.

The regular covers of Cottage Life look like this:

The Western edition retails for $5.95, while the Eastern edition remains at $6.95.  All retailers from BC to SK receive the Western edition, while the rest of the country gets the Eastern edition.

2 New Records Set

Posted by admin On May - 15 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

In 2013, Canada’s History (formally The Beaver) set two new all-time sales records.

The Feb/Mar 2013 issue featuring Louis Real…best ever in this time slot, and up 40% from prior year.

The Aug/Sep 2013 issue featuring Women of Valour…best ever in this time slot, and up 84% from prior year.

The Art Director is James Gillespie.

Sales up 300%

Posted by admin On May - 14 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

What a difference a year can make.  Volume 25 #2 of SuperTrax, which went on sale November 18th, 2013, sold 3,173 more copies than the same issue last year, for a stunning 300% lift in sales.

The issue was promoted at Wal Mart, where sales spiked by 711%.

It just goes to show the power of a fabulous retail promotion combined with a winning cover and what can be achieved.

Cover design by Andrew Knor.

Punching Bag Toy

Posted by admin On May - 12 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The May 26th, 2014 issue of Maclean‘s is the Cover of the Week.

This cover is just having so much fun, how can a newsstand junkie not give in to temptation?

For skybar lovers, Maclean’s can always be counted on for strong, easy to read skybar.

Nice use of the cover real estate.  Overall just a great magazine cover!

D Day

Posted by admin On May - 5 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Legion Magazine‘s May/Jun 2014 issue features D Day as the main cover sell.

Major battles tend to work well for this magazine.

Here’s what Art Director Jason Duprau has to say about the cover:

“We wanted to do things a bit differently for the cover of our May/June 2014 issue. June 6th is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and we have a special feature on the subject. We wanted to be bold and iconic so we used a well-known photo of the Juno Beach landing, and developed bold typography for the cover line. We also adjusted our masthead to incorporate ‘Special Issue’, our D-Day 70th anniversary logo and the secondary cover lines, which also gave us more room for the D-Day word mark and photo. We kept the sky bar clean and simple so it didn’t compete with the body of the cover.”

ASME Picks Boston as Cover of the Year

Posted by admin On May - 2 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The American Society of Magazine Editors have named Boston Magazine‘s May 2013 issue the Cover of the Year.

I’ve written about odd choices ASME has made in the past regarding the cover of the year award, when the covers clearly failed to resonate with consumers at the newsstand. This year’s winner was a huge success at the newsstand.

This beautifully designed cover sold 20,978 copies at a 55% sell through.  The April 2013 issue (Cape)  sold 12,823 copies, and the June 2013 issue (Power) sold 13,040.  Last year’s May issue (Beer) sold 12,110.  Therefore the lift over the prior year’s issue was 8,868 copies or a 73.2% lift in sales!

The only issues to outsell this cover since 2010 were the annual “Best Of” covers in August of 2012 (sold 22,473) and August 2010 (sold 33,273).

Boston consistently puts out fabulously designed covers.



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About Me

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.



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