Friday, November 30, 2012
A new cover template for Suncruiser has just been created by art director Cassandra Redding. The new and improved magazine is set to debut on newsstands in both Canada and the United States.

The logo has been completely re-worked, the sky bar area has been cleaned up, the type has been beefed up, large numeric benefit-oriented sell lines have been added, and more hooks have been squeezed in without cluttering up the cover.

“This has been a very exciting transition for us. Traditionally, we published in the middle of January in order to service the Seattle and Vancouver Boat Shows, but the appetite of our advertisers got us thinking about publishing earlier and finding greater reach. We were a bit nervous about bumping up our deadline by five weeks this year, but in fact it has already paid off. We had an increase of 12% in ad revenues and we can attribute it directly to reaching the BC, AB and Washington State markets. We also decided on a complete cover redesign and are looking forward to seeing how it performs on newsstands,” says Jason Tansem, publisher.

The Special Annual retails for $6.95, on newsstands December 10th.

Thursday, November 29, 2012
The December 2012 issue of Canadian Geographic features a cover story on Polar Bears. I hope you Like It as much as I do.

Polar Bears are to Canadian Geographic what Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are to celebrity titles…i.e. sexy idols for their readers that really help sell copies.

This cover shows a mother Polar Bear with two adorable cubs in tow, staring us down. While the supporting sell lines may be a bit hard to read (all white drop out on ice and snow), the cover should still sell extremely well.

  • Rule #2:  Subject Matter Matters
  • Rule #30:  If it works, keep doing it

Check out these other great Polar Bear Covers:

  1. SIP Cover from 2010 was Best Seller that year…an increase of 16% better then the overall average in terms of units, and 121% better in newsstand revenue as a result of the $12.95 cover price
  2. December 1996 cover was the second best seller that year, and performed 18% better than the average of all other issues combined
  3. December 2005 cover was the second best seller that year, and perfomed 7% better than the average  of all other issues combined
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
The 2013 Toronto Life Eating & Drinking special is sure to be a hit on newsstands…as it is every year! This top-selling SIP from Toronto Life is 146 pages thick, and is available for $9.95 at better newsstands across the city as of November 26, 2012.

“Our goal was to capture the excitement of the newest food trend—high-end ramen, and the arrival of the much anticipated Momofuku Noodle Bar. We worked with photographers Raina + Wilson to achieve a look that is rich and colourful and an image so warm you could feel the steam rising from the page,” says art director, Una Janicijevic.

Mission accomplished.

I love the way Toronto Life keeps each years’ version evolving and looking fresh…here they are from 2013 back to 2010. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It will be interesting to see how newsstand sales are impacted….we will check back in on this when the numbers start to firm up.

In the grand scheme of things, if the ad sales revenue was as big as is being suggested, does it really matter?  Great to see that a huge player in the digital space values print so highly to sell its new hardware. I guess they know how smart, savvy, sophisticated, and engaged the readers of print magazines really are.

Monday, November 26, 2012
The December 2012 issue of Chatelaine sure looks successful to me. Super thick at 300+ pages, and look at them having fun with those covers! Love it.

Elegant, sophisticated, packed with benefits and having fun too…these covers are sure to get fabulously merchandised by retailers who know a winner when they see one.

The “Special Double Issue “tumble” cover: One side features yuletide style and holiday health. Flip the issue over, and a second cover leads into a whole new edition on festive food and doable decor,” says the press release.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

You may remember 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 commission 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 censoring Maclean’s

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

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

What matters is that excellent investigative journalism 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” outsold every other issue in 2010.   It’s great to see that kind of hunger for quality investigative reporting…exactly what magazines are supposed to do.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The editorial page in the November 19, 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 (creative director):

“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 a.m. 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.”

Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Canadian Real Estate Wealth is enjoying a fabulous 3rd quarter at the newsstand, with all three issues posting huge increases in copies sold.

Plus, their 2012 SIP has posted big gains too!

Strong covers, solid promotions, and great distribution work to expand dealer coverage by 35% all contributed to the success. 

The Art Director is Rebecca Downing.

  • The July issue featured a “celebrity dragon” form the hit CBC show Dragons' Den.  Sales jumped 21% from prior year
  • The August issue featured a cover split to offer western readers a more familiar mountain scene, while eastern readers enjoyed a more familiar lakeside view. Sales jumped 33%
  • The September issue featured a three-way cover split, with sales up 83%
  • This year’s SIP is up 51% and 83% resepectively compared to the two previous SIP’s published in 2010

Click on images of covers to enlarge

Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Canada’s oldest and most respected environmental publication, Alternatives Journal (A\J) has covered environmental science for more than 40 years. Its first issue was published in 1971. 

A\J’s editorial mission is to be “Canada’s Environmental Voice” by providing a forum for civilized debate and, when appropriate, to advocate for positive and sustainable solutions.

Here’s what publisher and creative director Marcia Ruby has to say about the bold new re-design:

“We undertook this redesign project for both strategic and tactical reasons. Tactically, we wanted to make a bigger impact on the newsstand, a key battleground for growing both revenues and brand awareness. It is still too early to fully comment the success of this goal, but due in no small part to our new redesign, we have secured a broader distribution arrangement that will see more copies of A\J on more newsstands across Canada. So we consider that a good first victory.

“Strategically, as Canada’s most-established and most-respected environmental magazine, we felt our unique brand of intelligent and informed journalism should contribute to the much larger goal of finding a balance between economic and environmental sustainability. Canadians from coast-to-coast are facing challenging questions and changing climate realities, and they seek clarity and perspective in an easy-to-access format, supported by a strong scientific and research background. It was with this sense of urgency and with this heightened need in mind that we began this redesign project, and based upon initial feedback, A\J is now well-positioned to serve the needs of concerned Canadians and the broader environmental community.”

“We would like to thank Norm, Jenn and the entire team at K9 Design Co for taking the time to truly understand the nature of our needs and then diligently working towards developing a creative vision that perfectly balanced innovation with ease-of-execution. Thanks too to Scott Bullock at CoversSell.Com. Our magazine is better for their efforts and we salute them for their contributions to our strategic evolution.”

Below is the first issue from Summer of 1971, the Sep/Oct 2012 pre-redesign issue, and the new look Nov/Dec 2012 re-launch issue.



To view other Then & Now transformations, click here:

If you’d like to submit your magazine’s first ever issue with a new look, email jpgs of the covers to:

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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