Friday, March 27, 2009

ESPN magazine takes "flapvertising" another step

The erosion of editorial cover integrity proceeds apace: this time, perhaps emboldened by the Esquire venture into cover "flapvertising" that, at least, had to be opened, ESPN magazine has gone a step forward with an advertising flap that virtually obscures the cover, according to a story in Once again, it seems an offence to the spirit and letter of the American Society of Magazine Editors guidelines.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just a cover flap on the right side of the mag rather than on the left along the spine. Nothing new here. Maclean's has been putting advertiser messaging/logos on the outside of the flap for some time. So have others.

2:31 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree; my experience has been that advertising on cover flaps is usually restricted to the inside of the front flap and the back page when the flap wraps around. There may be examples, as you say, of Canadian magazines doing this, but that is merely symptomatic of the erosion of cover integrity.

3:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erosion, yes. New, no. We agree. Question to all: would the flap be okay if it didn't include a portion of the magazine's nameplate (that is, if there was no design integration with the cover/editorial, and it was purely advertising)? Would it still be considered part of the cover? In such a case, I'm thinking it wouldn't be much different than advertising messaging on polybags. Thoughts?

4:26 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

I hope others wade in. As for logo or not, in fact I feel it might be marginally better if the logo weren't integrated with the ad, but only marginally.

6:28 pm  
Anonymous Kim Pittaway said...

Where the Maclean's and Esquire examples slide through is that the cover is still coherent and visible, and you have to flip the flap or pull the tab to see the ad. With this example, the cover is obscured and and you have to flip the ad to see it (and are in the process exposed to part two of the ad), so the ad interrupts the cover, which to me makes it more objectionable than the others. Not that I'm a fan of the others either--there was something kind of disturbing about pulling open a flap on Obama's face, and Maclean's has allowed ad creep onto the face of their cover flap with boxed ads that look like display copy at the bottom of the flap. Yes, the cover is a marketing tool and as such, not exactly pure editorial territory, but with a cover this obscured, the message seems to be that the editor/publisher doesn't care whether the cover appeals to readers or not. And besides that, it's just not a very smart ad--kind of obvious and inherently irritating.

1:54 pm  
Anonymous Rona Maynard said...

The advertiser's use of the logo compounds but doesn't cause the problem here. Because the magazine has ceded half its cover to the advertiser, readers are taking second place to ad revenues. I don't buy the analogy with polybagging: the reader just tears off the plastic and throws it away. To get rid of the annoying ad flap, the reader has to tear the cover.

4:12 pm  
Anonymous David Hayes said...

Soon there will be multipage cover flaps which you have to flip through, like a magazine, to get to the cover. I'm being facetious but also won't be surprised to see some variation of this soon enough.

4:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the whole point of producing a magazine to make money? And if advertising contributes the majority of your revenue, wouldn't you want an ad on the cover flap? Can anyone actually prove that a cover flap harms sales?

Go and produce a book if the ads bother you. Too expensive? Just go and sell some ads to help out with your costs.

12:57 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

I don't think anyone here has said ads bother them. The problem is with the erosion of editorial integrity. A good many people have a complex variety of reasons to publish a magazine, not solely to make money; and even when that is the principal reason, they realise that maintaining trust and clarity with readers is fundamental to success, now and in the long term.

1:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it a matter of comprimising your integrity if the ad is on the cover or inside the magazine? One ad and your integrity is out the window anyway.

It's up to the smart and saavy editors out there to find a way to seamlessly integrate the ad into the cover so that they maintain trust and clarity with readers.

A good many people means 3 or 4 publications?

1:38 pm  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

You say having even one ad ends all possibilities of integrity. But that is such a black-or-white position that it's hard to know how to respond. Magazine advertising is part of the reader's experience, but as long as we observe some basic ground rules, most readers accept it. One of those rules has been that the cover is an editorial page. These new developments suggest that it no longer should be. That's where the disagreements start.

3:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a designer, I would be pissed if my editor or publisher tried to put an ad over my design like this.

3:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No ads on the cover is a black or white position. The integrity card is condescending, I don't feel that I have any less integrity because I support ads on the cover. I take pride in my work and want to see my magazine succeed, just like everyone else.

Would we rather have the industry continue to innovate and thrive or maintain the status quo and wither away slowly?

3:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not being a does this ad example compromise integrity in any way? If the ad influenced the content of the magazine I could see your point but as a placement on the cover? It's ad ad, there's real estate on the cover for it...seems like a natural.

5:39 pm  

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