Despite the touchy-feely nature of the content, Disney Publishing’s parenting title Wondertime launched into a fiercely competitive market, ready for battle. The 300,000-circulation magazine;a quarterly, soon to be bumped to a 400,000-circ bimonthly;has been continually breaking not just new advertisers but new categories.
“We try to be innovative and creative and try to do things that haven’t been done before,” says publisher David Mevorah, who adds that the parenting category as a whole is down 10 percent in ad revenue from last year.
For Mevorah, letting advertisers feel ownership of their programs is key. For Hasbro/Playskool, which signed on with the launch issue and has been the magazine’s biggest advertiser, Mevorah created a double gatefold;four pages off the front cover and three off the back cover;with a sweepstakes program. The sweepstakes received 48,000 responses from readers. “For a 300,000-circulation magazine, that’s not bad,” says Mevorah. Additionally, the publisher created a series of square, one-third-page ads that are sprinkled throughout the magazine. “That gave them more ownership,” adds Mevorah.
Awareness among the agencies was one of the hardest goals for the new launch. To educate buyers on Wondertime’s mission, Mevorah unleashed a grueling 30-agency tour across seven markets in two weeks. At each stop, he set up a Wondertime-themed party in the agency’s office, complete with tin buckets full of candy, the magazine’s editor, and plenty of hand-outs. “They were able to roll out for a three-o’clock break, get a bucket of candy and learn about the magazine,” says Mevorah.
The efforts, so far, have paid off. Mevorah says the magazine has maintained its 75 pages of ads through its first three issues and RFP submissions have gone up 80 percent in the last three months. And his team continues to break non-endemic advertisers, with Honda recently coming on board.