Building to its 65th anniversary next year, Source Interlink’s Hot Rod brand readies a comprehensive relaunch across print, online, video and social media, including a 40-50 percent editorial page increase for the magazine.
Starting with its September issue, which drops in July, the print product will contain 125 edit pages. The brand’s long-held tagline, "Where it all began," will extend to include, "Where it’s all going"—a move that emphasizes its push on "what’s happening in the future, instead of dwelling on what happened in the past," says editor-in-chief David Freiburger.
Content across all of its products—two shows on sister brand Motortrend’s YouTube channel, its redesigned website, its "Then and Now" iPad app, its licensed Hot Rod Live Radio, and its Hot Rod TV program on the Speed Channel—will refocus on being "bigger, better, faster, louder."
An example is Freiburger’s recent 200-miles-per-hour test drive of a 2012 Chevy Camaro with performance modifications. "The marketplace for late model performance cars is younger," Freiburger says. "We haven’t had the relevance there that we should have." The test drive was captured in a video on Hot Rod’s site, blasted out as news and will be featured in print.
"We’re thinking about entertainment more than anything else," says Freiburger. "I need to give people what they can’t get on the Internet. That means leveraging my access and my budget and my people to have readers say, at least once per issue, ‘I can’t believe they did that.’"
To support this brand relaunch, the company hired two new staffers, including an executive editor to manage logistics. "That’s huge for me because I can focus more on the creative," says Freiburger, who adds that his current edit staff of seven is larger than the staff of five when he started with the magazine in 1991.