Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Head to Head! Which Cover will Win?

Posted by Scott On July - 13 - 20101 COMMENT

Add a Comment and Vote for the best cover.
CoversSell.Com will report back when sales firm up.

Patrick Walsh, editor of Outdoor Canada says:

“Nothing says ‘Danger’ like a roaring grizzly, the epitome of Canada’s outdoor perils. That’s why the bear got the nod for our cover, chosen after several different iterations. Clearly, great minds think alike, although I do prefer our cover!”

John Kerr, Editor-In-Chief, at Ontario Out of Doors says :

“We put a bear on the cover because of the unfortunate attack on Gerald Marois, which was breaking news and happened just as the July issue was in production,” said Ontario OUT OF DOORS Editor-in-Chief John Kerr. “Our area writer and illustrator Tom Goldsmith from Coldwater was part of the coverage more so than the general media and was actually at the attack site early the next day. We acted quickly. We felt informing readers about the attack and the other information on the state of  Ontario’s black bear  population  was extremely important, since nuisance bears have been an ongoing topic since the cancellation of the spring hunt. We just presented the facts. It’s part of our mandate at OOD.”

Which Cover will win?

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NEW LOOK for Toronto Life!

Posted by Scott On July - 9 - 20102 COMMENTS

I confess to being biased, but I love the New Look Toronto Life.

The new look pays tribute to the past, but with a modern edgy twist, that is sure to help it jump off newsstands.

According to Yasmin Seneviratne, crack newsstand marketing expert, “there are large poster promotions at several Great Canadian Newsstand stores and Gateway stores.  At the Union Station Gateway store there will be a “store domination program”, including  shelf talkers, big magazine stacks, a backlit durtrans ad, and a can’t-miss floor decal.  Hopefully this will encourage record newsstand sales of the magazine.”

The New Look price (nice starburst treatment) takes full advantage of the cover real estate.

My guess is that this move will also help bump the magazine’s PMB numbers, as the iconic logo has tons of equity.

More on this story:

Cats or Dogs?

Posted by Scott On July - 9 - 20101 COMMENT

The July/August 2010 issue of Canadian Geographic features a close up shot of a Lynx.  The prior issue featured a Coyote.

Both covers offer readers wildlife images, with predators acting as celebrity cover models.

The Lynx issue of  Canadian Geographic goes on sale July 19th.   

Look for retail promotions at:  Chapters/Indigo, Safeway, Metro/A&P, and BC Ferries and other fine retailers.

Which cover do you think will sell more copies?

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Free Magazine Won the Gold (Again)

Posted by Scott On July - 8 - 20108 COMMENTS

Report on Business magazine, distributed free of charge in the Globe & Mail, won the Cover of the Year Award at the National Magazine Awards gala in June.

It is the fourth time that ROB has taken home the Gold Award, and third time this decade, thus dominating the 2000’s.  ROB now shares the honour (with Toronto Life) as the most decorated magazine ever in this important category, according to the NMAF web site:

Magazine Title Year Award Type
TORONTO LIFE How the Gun Has Changed Toronto 2008 Gold
MAISONNEUVE The Food Issue 2007 Gold
AZURE Water 2006 Gold
REPORT ON BUSINESS 10 Dirty Secrets of a Bay Street Temp 2005 Gold
FQ MAGAZINE Summer Issue 2004 2004 Gold
CANADIAN HOUSE & HOME Free Spirited Decorating 2003 Gold
REPORT ON BUSINESS Body Flop 2002 Gold
SATURDAY NIGHT What’s a wife worth? 2001 Gold
SATURDAY NIGHT Saul Bellow 2000 Gold
CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC Through the Lens 1999 Gold
SHIFT Bran Man 3000 1998 Gold
TORONTO LIFE The best food 1997 Gold
TORONTO LIFE No brainer 1996 Gold
EQUINOX Is It All in Your Head? 1995 Gold
ENROUTE Canada’s Top 150 Restaurants 1994 Gold
C MAGAZINE Biology Obsession Invention 1993 Gold
MTL Mordecai Richler 1992 Gold
MONTREAL Hotshots! 1991 Gold
EQUITY Serious Money 1990 Gold
IDLER The Swimming Hole 1989 Gold
REPORT ON BUSINESS Bolshoi Mak 1988 Gold
MONTREAL October 1987 1987 Gold
FORUM The Slower Learner’s Dilemma 1986 Gold
T.O. MAGAZINE Making It 1985 Gold
SATURDAY NIGHT The Eve of Destruction 1984 Gold
QUEST Welcome to that Year 1983 Gold
PRISM INTERNATIONAL September 1982 1982 Gold
QUEST Raging Berbick 1981 Gold
VANGUARD Art Work by Betty Goodwin of Montreal 1980 Gold
WEEKEND MAGAZINE The Eisenhower Years 1979 Gold
WEEKEND MAGAZINE Seal Hunt 1978 Gold
TORONTO LIFE The Italians 1977 Gold

Report On Business

Many winners of this award have been primarily controlled circulation titles, and many are sadly no longer with us, such as FQ, Shift, Montreal, Weekend and Saturday Night. 

In an online Poll conduced by  3% of the 121 respondents predicted that ROB “would win” the award, and only 1% of the 67 respondents said that it “should win.”

Perhaps being unburdened by competing on crowded newsstands, and not being handicapped by the need to motivate readers to subscribe, (and thus help support the writers, editors, fact checkers, photographers, illustrators and art directors),  has its merits after all.

PIRATES…an Iconic Theme!

Posted by Scott On July - 8 - 20103 COMMENTS

Canada's History - Pirates

This cover is a big test for Canada’s History…as it reaches out to broaden the market appeal of what Canadian history is all about.

First: it breaks the rule about black over white backgrounds…but if ever there was ever a time to go black, this is it
Second: it radically commits to the subject matter and is not at all cute with the cover lines
Third: the typography is assertive
Fourth: clean and uncluttered
Fifth: taps into iconic image

Given the recent box office success of The Pirates of The Caribbean series of movies…this cover hopes to mine the “treasure trove” of lore, Halloween fantasy and Hollywood fascination with Pirate culture.  And considering what is happening in Somalia these days, pirating is very much alive and creating new history.

The August/September issue of Canada’s History is on sale July 26th. Look for retail promotions at: Chapters/Indigo, Coles/Smithbooks, and Presse Commerce locations.

Up Here! Now that is Cheeky!

Posted by Scott On July - 8 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

Congratulations to UP HERE magazine for having the courage to try something sure to generate controversy and free publicity.

Rule #6:    Be Controversial
Rule #20:  Be Sexy

By taking a page out of the Sports Illustrated play book, and making it their own, UP HERE has succeeded in getting national media coverage.

Editor, Aaron Sptizer, predicts that this cover will shatter the 26-year old magazine’s record for best-selling cover ever.  I suspect he is probably right.

UP HERE was recently named Magazine of the Year (arguably the most prestigious award bestowed by the publishing industry) on this outstanding regional magazine.

More on this story:

Improving Their Odds

Posted by Scott On July - 5 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This fantastic cover from PROFIT is hard to miss on a crowded newsstand.  And it radically commits to two cover rules:

Rule #12:  Use Bold Type
Rule #21:  Use Numbers

Tip:  My only quibble is that the UPC code should be in the lower right corner, switching spots with the great little orange banner, in order to take full advantage of the realities of merchandising at most newsstands.

This cover will sell briskly.

How-To Benefits…Are you “Inspired?”

Posted by Scott On July - 5 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This just in from the UK…a new online magazine for aspiring and inspiring terrorists.

Clearly even seriously disturbed digital propaganda publishers understand the importance of benefit-oriented sell lines such as:

“Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom”.

Thanks, but I think I will go to the newsstand and pick up the latest copy of Esquire and learn how to make the world’s best Martini instead.

Tip:  Use Grey Goose

White Cover

Posted by Scott On June - 29 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

This cover, from Style at Home, is a fascinating test.  It’s a radical and bold experiment with an all white cover (with a smidge of pink), designed to differentiate itself on the shelves from the usual home décor shots.

It’s certainly gutsy and interesting, and one worth watching to see how it sells.

Tip:  I would have lead out with a commitment to PURE WHITE ACCESSORIES as my main sell line in the upper left real-estate.  Radical Clarity and Committing to the Cover.

But we give high marks to Style at Home for taking the gamble…no risk/no reward!

RollingStone Cover Rocks the World

Posted by Scott On June - 26 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

The article (The Runaway General) appeared on their web site early last week.  Copies were available for purchase on newsstands on Friday, June 25th.  The cover was not unveiled on the web until this morning.

Rule #6: Be Controversial

If you needed any proof that magazine journalism is alive and well, and that hard-hitting, on-the-ground investigative story-telling is critical in shaping public opinion, and can change the course of history, then you must disagree with the President of the United States.

No U.S. President, not even Abe Lincoln, has fired two Generals during a time of War (and Obama still has over two years to go in his first mandate).

I’m delighted that RollingStone magazine’s reach and influence is that viral, that influential…that it can rock the world.

The editor and art director clearly never expected such an outcome, since Obama’s General is prioritized third in the real estate pecking order on the left-hand side of this eye-popping cover.  Not only did the General tell all, apparently Lady Gaga tells all too.

This Summer Double Issue is sure to be a winner at the newsstands.


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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