vice president, Scholastic Parents Media
Scholastic Parent & Child is offering unconventional ad opportunities and questioning some long-held views.
The FOLIO: 40 represents the people and trends we think are having the most influence on the industry. That doesn‚Äôt mean we necessarily agree all the time with what they‚Äôre doing.
As publishers struggle to improve sagging ad revenues, they‚Äôre getting creative and offering options that were considered taboo in the past‚ÄĒsuch as opening up the magazine cover to advertising. Risa Crandall, vice president of Scholastic Parents Media, has been at the front of the charge, selling ad space on the cover of Scholastic Parent & Child.
The magazine featured a cover ad for a company called Smilebox that appeared in the lower right corner with the label ‚Äúadvertisement‚ÄĚ in small type. While other magazines have experimented with cover ads‚ÄĒincluding ESPN, Entertainment Weekly and Esquire, Scholastic Parent & Child was the only one that really drew the ire of the American Society of Magazine Editors.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs the only ‚ÄėFull Monty‚Äô execution we‚Äôve seen that just went ahead and put an ad‚ÄĒtwo actually‚ÄĒright on the cover,‚ÄĚ said then ASME president and Runner‚Äôs World editor David Willey. ‚ÄúThe other magazines that have tried new things have all taken different approaches but none of them were that blatant.‚ÄĚ
However, before committing to the ads, Scholastic Parent & Child polled 2,500 readers about ads and ad units that might appear on the cover, according to Crandall. ‚ÄúThis was an important step to take,‚ÄĚ she says. ‚ÄėThe reception was positive since these cover ads were done tactfully without loss of integrity. Sometimes I‚Äôve found that the magazine industry assumes that readers will feel a certain way and they don‚Äôt.‚ÄĚ
Scholastic Parent & Child sold out cover ads for 2009, resulting in a 10 percent increase in incremental ad revenue. ‚ÄúIn print you don‚Äôt tend to sell out, so we have found that this kind of advertising is getting clients to act more quickly,‚ÄĚ says Crandall. ‚ÄúWe decided to go the route of cover ads based on innovation and creativity‚ÄĒnot as a response to the economy. This really puts print in the forefront.‚ÄĚ
VITAL STATS Cover ads drove a 10 percent increase in ad revenue for Scholastic Parent & Child in 2009.