Friday, October 29, 2010
This archival image of a miner “panning” for gold makes the cover line Gold Rush conform to the 3 second rule…it’s radically clear what is being offered to readers.  The feature story, by award-wining author Charlotte Gray, is given plenty of room to breath.  We call that committing to the cover.  The Henry Hudson call out at the bottom uses color to draw the eye down the page.  The Gift Guide starburst is another classic device designed to help attract additional buyers, as are the 3 additional hooks in the colourful sky bar treatment.

With the run up in gold prices to close to $1,400 an ounce…the timeliness of our relationship to gold in Canada and the Klondike is another example of how past meets present in this entertaining and informative magazine.

The issue goes on sale November 29th.  It retails for $6.95

Look for promotions at Chapters/Indigo and HDS retail locations.


Thursday, October 28, 2010
I’ve noticed, over the years, that for some strange reason, big boats tend to sell copies, even on magazines that are not about boats or ships or even the military.  It’s odd.

This cover, which has great eye contact (a one-eyed cyclops) is steaming right into your face.  The bold type treatment, and simple sell “SHIPS”, make it radically clear what the selling proposition offers.  The connection between image and words is better than the 3 second rule requires…try 1 second.  And the drop-down box featuring the 150 year old Shipwreck reinforces the overall themed nature of the package.

Clean and crisp.  Uncluttered.  Direct.  This cover could be used as a recruitment poster for the Navy.

Legion magazine’s Nov/Dec 2010 issue is scheduled to hit newsstands November 1st.  Look for a special display at Presse Commerce locations.


Monday, October 25, 2010
Well, if this cover doesn’t take your breath away, you must not be a red-blooded American boy like me.  Or you must have been asleep for the past 50 years.

This cover works on so many levels one hardly knows where to begin:

White cover, check!

Iconic Celebrity image, check!
Worldwide Exclusive, check!

Clean and Uncluttered treatment, check!
Radically clear, check!

Promise of secrets revealed, check!

Perfect use of red to direct the eye down the page, check!

Love it.  Can’t wait to see the sale report in 3 months!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Maclean's Trudeau Special was an enormous success and has received a nomination for the Hall of Fame from Glenn Morgan, at Coast to Coast.

As Glenn points out:

“The special went on sale on October 23rd, 2000.  At that time $9.95 was a rather rare price in the newsstand marketplace.  The total draw was 146,500 copies.  Initially we distributed 106,500 copies, but subsequently shipped another 40,000 within  two weeks of the initial on sale date.  The total sale was 121,995 copies for an incredible 83.2% sell-through efficiency.”

According to Peter Willson, who oversaw the retail portion of the project on behalf of Rogers and lived every moment of this special newsstand journey:

“The reason it sold so well was the subject matter touched so many Canadians.  Because Trudeau represented, led, provoked and inspired an entire generation.  The Maclean’s editors caught that feeling throughout the book….but it was the cover that clinched the sale.”

Regarding the cover Willson says:

“Sombre but not morbid.  Distinguished.  Simple.  The word Trudeau dominates—there is no doubt what it is about.  Special Commemorative Issue makes it a must have.  And the back cover of Trudeau walking away down a street with his back to us, wearing his beret, was very touching and emotional.  In some cases at retail, the back cover got dual facings with key retailers.”

Regarding the $9.95 cover price, Willson talks about the success they had enjoyed with The Diana Tribute issue priced at $6.95.  So there was lengthy debate amongst the key players at Rogers.  The market spoke and the $9.95 cover prevailed and the rest was the opportunity to generate retail revenue.

Willson credits tremendous support from the wholesale community putting it on full-copy hold and performing re-distribution before Christmas, making it an ideal gift.  Then again in Toronto Airports before March break 2001.  Finally, when the CBC decided to air a mini series on Trudeau in the fall of 2001, Willson approached Chapters/Indigo for an exclusive on the last 3,000 copies they had in inventory and sold an astounding 66% of those copies too.

What a remarkable story.

Do you think this belongs in the Hall of Fame? Go to and vote!


Thursday, October 14, 2010
In honour of Azure’s recent 25th Anniversary party, this Quiz highlights 30 of Azure’s great covers.

Enjoy the Quiz Show.

Simply choose the cover that out sold the others.

Click on the link
to take the Azure anniversary quiz.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
On June 26th I posted the Lady Gaga cover as the Cover of the Week.

My motivation was simple. Rolling Stone had published the Obama’s General story on-line, a full week before printed copies were available for purchase at newsstands. The story went viral, and within a week, the General had resigned/been fired.  The story was over before it was even delivered to newsstands.

What a perfect experiment to test the theory about Rule # 6:  Be Controversial:  which generates free publicity and marketing buzz you simply can’t buy at any price.

Clearly, the editorial and art teams didn’t expect much newsstand pull on Obama’s General as a major selling hook:  note the placement well down the real estate hierarchy grid and the rather small point size to the sell line.

According to Magnet information from the United States (which looks at point of scan data from high volume retailers) the Lady Gaga issue sold 70% more copies than the Jonas Brothers cover  from the same time slot in Summer 2009.  The Summer slot has a 1 month selling window as opposed to the usual 2 week cycle.  With that said, the Lady Gaga issue sold 194% more copies compared to the 52-week average for Rolling Stone.  This issue was a runaway winner.  Final Sales will eventually be posted by ABC.

Apparently people still like to read magazines purchased at newsstands, even if the inflammatory content is a week old.  It didn’t hurt that the cover is fantastic in every other way too, of course.

Rollingstone's July Lady Gaga cover
Rollingstone's July Lady Gaga cover

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
For the first-time ever, Legion magazine is publishing an SIP (special interest publication).

This oversized 9 X 11 3/4 “book” is printed on 100lb Cover Stock and is UV coated.  It is 100 pages thick and perfect bound.  It will retail for $14.95.

Look for special retail promotions with Chapters/Indigo; Wal Mart; Shoppers Drug Mart, and other fine retailers.

This highly visual treat is written by respected historian and author Tim Cook.  The issue goes on sale November 22nd, just in time for the Christmas rush.

The Legion has over 250,000 loyal subscribers, however the SIP, is available only on newsstands.  A full-page house-ad promoting the issue can be found in the Nov/Dec “Ships” issue, which goes on sale November 1st.

The cover combines 4-color and black and white to create a haunting effect that is both vintage and modern simultaneously.  The cover slash and starburst add the circulation sizzle of time-tested devices.  

The Legion branding and bar code treatments are simple, subdued and elegantly managed in the black frame.

The support from our distributor LMPI and the wholesale and retail community on this project has been extraordinary and very much appreciated.

Legion's WWI special interest publication
Legion's WWI special interest publication

Friday, October 08, 2010
Canadian Geographic TRAVEL has just completed their Winter 2010 issue.  This cover is clean and uncluttered.  It uses hot neon colors to accent the sell lines. And it promises a package of great southern destinations to warm your soul, cleanse your skin, and get you dancing to the music.  Lots of benefits, benefits, benefits.

The Spring 2010 issue is up 9% from prior year, the Summer 2010 issue is up 38% from prior year, and this cover looks to build on that momentum.

Canadian Geograhic TRAVEL Winter 2010
Canadian Geographic TRAVEL Winter 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010
Back on April 25th, I posted this cover to illustrate Paul Jone’s theory about covers that are from the “art with logo” school.  Despite the fact that living politicians rarely sell well, this cover appealed to my sense of humor.

This issue did not sell well in Canada, sales were down 13% from the same time slot last year.  However, in the UK it sold 6% better than last year’s issue.  And in the important (and biggest) US market the issue sold 6% better too.

Recently, the American Society of Magazine Editors awarded New York magazine’s version of Obama the Best Cover in the Most Controversial category, despite it selling below average.  (See post under New & Networthy icon).

Adbusters should feel good about their overall results.




Thursday, October 07, 2010
Fly Fusion magazine debuted in 2006 as a quarterly publication.  Fly Fusion has always focused exclusively on tactical “how-to” and inspirational editorial content that speaks to both the artistry, science and soul of the sport.  Fly Fusion has never done “where to” or “destination” editorial content…until now.

This cover is the first-ever SIP (Special Interest Publication) from Fly Fusion.  It will retail for $8.95 (the normal rate is $7.95) and will debut on newsstands October 18th, 2010.

Fly Fusion SIP cover
Fly Fusion SIP cover

“We were overwhelmed with the support we received for this special issue, given that we pitched this to our advertising partners at the peak of the recession when ad dollars were limited. This issue is a testament to what you can do when you marry loyal ad partners with a quality product and solid editorial, said Jen and Chris Bird, Co-Publishers.

The magazine sells as well, and sometimes even better,  in the United States than it does in Canada.  This particular cover, with it’s warmth, it’s tropical appeal, promises great fishing at the worlds greatest locations just as our weather here is getting a bit nippy.

About Me
Scott Bullock

Scott Bullock is the the creator of Bullock has worked as circulation director for both consumer and B2B magazines including Toronto Life and FASHION.

Note to readers: some of Bullock's posts may refer to his clients.
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