Mike Hughes, national marketing manager at Transcontinental Media, was the man behind Canadian Living's first bookazine, which was published last year with a sell-through of 38%. Hughes says he got the idea from his past work at Distribution Services Inc. (DSI), where he witnessed the success of bookazines for Men’s Health and Prevention.
To honour his success, Hughes will be named Newsstand Marketer of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Newsstand Awards. This award recognizes a person who has demonstrated passion and innovation for a newsstand project in 2008.
The Canadian Living Eat Right bookazine is a thick, mid-sized magazine-like product with almost no ads, which was displayed on newsstands for several months, selling for $11.99. According to Hughes, it took a lot of persuasion to get the project green-lighted, because the lack of ads means publishers must see that high sell-through rate. Through promotions with major retailers such as Chapters, Gateway Newsstands and Shoppers Drug Mart, the product was successful, and will be published again this year.
Several of Mike’s colleagues have spoken to Masthead about Hughes’ commitment to the industry and his tendency to go beyond his job description.
“Mike has proven time after time that he will go beyond his job limits to make a client happy and a program successful,” says Paula Higgins, national account manager at Canadian Mass Media Inc. “There’s no one more deserving than him to win this award.”
Another project Mike worked on last year helped boost sales of Canadian Living’s October 2008 issue by 60% and raised $2,300 for breast cancer research. Every time a Shoppers Drug Mart customer bought that issue of the magazine along with a special buy-one-get-one-free Dove deodorant, 50 cents were donated to the cause.
“He’s always coming up with new ideas, trying to sell more copies at newsstands,” says Suzan Kuskelin, a colleague at Transcontinental.
Hughes started his career in the book industry as a publisher rep for Whitecap Books, but after about 10 years he was ready to move on. When he heard about an opening for national marketing director at DSI, he took the job. He stayed with DSI for seven years before moving to Transcontinental three years ago. Compared to the book industry, he says he much prefers the interactions he gets with magazine publishers.
“There’s a great camaraderie, and I really like that synergy of pushing the whole magazine category forward,” he says. “It’s exciting, because you don’t feel like you’re out there on your own.”
Hughes won amongst a record number of nominees this year and will be honoured at the awards ceremony in early October.