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Magazine Cover Ads Often Outperform Other Premium Spots


February 10, 2010 -- Research from Affinity's Vista service about ads on the front covers of magazines -- where advertising had long been seen as controversial within the industry -- finds that advertising can work very well and often outperform ads placed in a magazine's other premium spots.

As reported by Advertising Age, The magazine Parent & Child has been running cover ads for brands including Juicy Juice, SunnyD Smoothies and PediaSure almost every month since its April 2009 issue.

The three Parent & Child front cover ads that Vista studied generated some action among 73% of readers, on average, topping the title's average scores for action taken over the last three years: 71% for ads opposite the table of contents, 66% for either the back cover or the inside front cover, and 65% for the inside back cover. "Taking action" includes saving an ad for future reference, visiting a website or store, or buying the product or service.

As for recall, Vista found the front cover ads averaged a 78% total recall score, the best of any premium ad position in the magazine. The back cover and the page opposite the table of contents tied for second place, averaging 69% total recall.

Publishers remain concerned "that readers won't like the ads and will distrust the magazines that run them," and most magazines continue not to place ads on the front cover.

According to Risa Crandall, VP at Scholastic Parents Media, publisher of Parent & Child, readers haven't complained about the ads at all.  "Print consumers are more open to creativity than sometimes we give them credit for," she is quoted as saying. "Sometimes we think they're old school. The internet's changed all that. People's acceptability of these things has changed."

Source:  Advertising Age, Cover Ads Often Outperform Magazines' Other Premium Spots, February 10, 2010.  Also see:  Advertising Age, Ads Venturing Further Into Magazines' Editorial Pages, April 2, 2010.