Wanna buy an ad on my nose?

Hearst’s Shop Etc. magazine is turning its cover into an ad. That’s a line crossed, but many others have been tickling that line for sometime now. The New York Times is putting ads on the front of its business section and not ruling out ads on its cover. Sometime ago, I noted that AM New York was turning its front page into an ad, using the distribution power they’d built to make more money — which it could do because it is free and didn’t need to use the front page to sell copies. Hearst is likewise sending its adcover to subscribers who’ve already bought the thing. These are desperate moves by publishers dying to eke out more bucks and they are victories for advertisers who always want to get closer to the publishers’ brands. But, of course, the more that advertisers take over those brands, the less those brands stand for.

: Oh, and when you see hand-wringing about foolish marketers trying to buy posts on blogs, come back to this: They’re buying the most precious editorial and brand space from the big guys.

  • Jeff:

    An interesting headline, but noses are too small for effective ad messaging. How about your forehead?


  • I’m with Jon on this. I think foreheads are a better use of body advertising. I recall Chris Pirillo sold space on his chest, however, I can think of others who may offer better ROI than Chris in that niche. Also, in the B-to-B magazine arena, how come it’s a common practice to sell a “cover wrap” — For example, AdWeek always runs an “Ad” on the cover of most issues. They’ve been doing it for decades, so it’s barely a “desperate” move. It’s clearly an ad. Indeed, you have an ad floating in this post, however it’s clearly an ad — isn’t an ad inside the edit well of a blog “crossing the line” from an ad over in the right-hand column. Of course not — but I can’t tell you why. If the cover of a consumer magazine (and I think the shoputainment magazines are a unique category of entertainment rather than journalism) wants to run an ad on the cover — and call it an ad — so what? If readers (shoppers) don’t like it, they’ve got about a half-dozen other clones to choose from.

  • Ed Rusch

    Cover wraps are a dime a dozen, Jeffy, and front-page ads on smaller dailies and weeklies have been around for longer than you’ve been alive. Sorry, Jeffy, but this isn’t nearly as much a sign of the apocolypse than you’d like us all to think.

  • adslfan

    they need ads on news anchors. larry king’s forehead would make a great ad. come on for 1 hour …stick a dot com on his head. would get a lot of attention.

  • Two college-age women in Madison, Wis., have already offered their foreheads for sale as ad space. We should check back and see it the business model holds. E.

  • Ed Rusch

    feh. Last summer a sales rep for a minor-league baseball team held an ebay auction for ad space on his forehead. BFD. Already been done.

  • Foreheads were done.
    Chests were done.
    I believe butts were done.
    I’m looking for a cold relief sponsor myself.
    And I have a big nose.

    Uh, yes, I knew my readers knew that. That’s why I chose those the nose. Invaluable contribution as always.

  • When I started my first paper three years ago, we sold a full front page ad on the cover. It didn’t take long to realize that we couldn’t give the paper away (it was/is a free weekly).

    We stopped selling the front cover, and designed the cover around the lead story in the paper – like most alternative weeklies do. The papers went much better and faster.

    So yes, selling ads on the cover is a sign of weakness by desperate publishers. It won’t take long for the advertisers inside to realize that nobody is picking up and reading a paper with a giant ad plastered on the cover. Bad, desperate move that will accelerate the decline of the papers.

    If they wanna sell the front cover, it better be a direct mail/shopper type paper.