Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Who is sorry now?

Posted by Scott On November - 14 - 2012

The editorial page in the November 19th, 2012, issue of Maclean’s is worth the cover price, all on its own.  It doesn’t hurt that it comes wrapped in a fabulous cover, featuring Barack Obama…”How He Did It.”  

Here is some insight into the cover process from Jason Logan:

“A simple picture of Obama in a triumphant pose on the podium the night of his victory. Nice simple powerful design with all secondary sells taken off and nameplate moved up and full bleed to give a kind of poster-like feel. Behind the scenes Its 2 am and we have a preliminary design which depends on a good inspiring photograph of Obama after winning. Past all normal deadlines our printer is pushed to its limit and the Romney camp has taken their time conceding the election so the team is forced to wait for images coming through the wires.  When the images started coming through it was still a challenge to find an iconic pose that was clear enough way back from the stage in low light. The results are the current Maclean’s magazine which offers the definitive Canadian newsweekly’s take on the dramatic race and hard fought win. Down to the wire cover design by Stephen Gregory with special thanks to our Director of photography Andrew Tolson and image correction specialist Richard Reddit.”

You may remeber that Maclean’s published a controversial cover, featuring an illustration of Bonhomme, the Quebec Winter Carnival cartoon character, with the provocative cover line:  The Most Corrupt Province in Canada.

Two years later, and the story has come full circle, with the Charbonneau comission tabling its report.  “The details thus revealed support for everything we outline, including testimony about brown envelopes of cash to city engineers, systematic bid-rigging, illegal campaign contributions and plenty more,”  say the Maclean’s editors.  Montreal’s long serving mayor has resigned.   The mayor of Lavel’s home and office has been raided by police and he is expected to resign shortly too.

Bloc Quebec leaer Giles Duceppe said Maclean’s was “xenophobic”, Quebec nationalists claimed Maclean’s was “hateful and defamatory,” Jean Charest published a public letter attacking Maclean’s journalistic credibility and demanded an apology, and the House of Commons even unanimously passed a motion cesnuring Maclean’s. 

And there were many, many media pundits who piled on too. 

So, will a motion be moved now to apologise to Maclean’s?  Will the critics apologise and recant?  Not likely.  What goes around, sadly, does not always come around.

What matters is that excellent investigative journalisim triumphed in the end, by doing its job of seeking the truth, and to inform the public.  Controversial covers matter, because they take great courage, and there is often a steep price to pay for blowing the whistle.  Lawyers and PR help can get expensive. 

By the way, the October 4th, 2010 issue sold 115% more copies than the issue preceeding it, sold more copies than any of the subsequent issues in 2010, and with the exception of three “double issues” out sold every other issue in 2010.   It’s great to see that kind of hunger for quality investigative reporting…exaclty what magazines are supposed to do.


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About Me

Scott Bullock is a veteran circulation expert with over 38 years experience in both Canada and the United States. He has worked on trade titles such as Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal and Small Press in the USA. In consumer magazines, Scott was the Circulation Director for D Magazine (the city magazine of Dallas, Texas), and in Canada he was the Circulation Director for Toronto Life, Fashion, and Canadian Art. From 2000 to 2004, Scott was a partner at Coast to Coast Newsstand Services. Scott has also held the post of VP Sales & Marketing, for CDS Global, Canada. Currently, CoversSell.Com is Scott’s circulation consultancy. Active clients include: Fly Fusion, Canadian Geographic, Canadian House & Home, Canada’s History, Canadian Real Estate Wealth, Canadian Woodworking, Canadian Cycling, Canadian Running, Canadian Scrapbooker, Legion, Harrowsmith, SkyNews, and SuperTrax.



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