Trump, The Cover

 

Editor’s Note: This seems appropriate….

 

Is it possible that there are more magazine covers this year with Donald J. Trump on the cover than say, Taylor Swift? Heck yes! Have I managed to count them all? Well, no. I had to stop after a while. It would have been a really interesting exercise trying to count them all*. However it is planning season and spending all that time on Google is something I politely call a “Non-Revenue Generating Activity.”

So, no. I don’t have proof that there are more Trump covers than Swift covers, but go look at a newsstand and tell me what you think.

Of course the newsweeklies, business mags and culture pubs are the ones having the most fun with the mercurial Republican candidate as a cover story. Below are a collection of some of the ones I’ve found over the course of the year.

Here’s a few from Time Magazine.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-6-59-07-pm

I’m a fan of illustrated covers so my favorite is the one from August 22nd.

Newsweek Magazine, which no longer tries to follow in Time‘s shoes went with a more straightforward, head-on approach.

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-07-51-pm

The current iteration of Newsweek retains the white on red logo but adds a small “folder tab” on the bottom right for the issue date. It’s an interesting add-on and I think it works to both preserve the original brand ID and set the new version apart. Other than the white on red, there is nothing else about the “new” Newsweek that resembles it’s predecessor as far as I am concerned (It’s a much better magazine). For the record, Trump has been on many Newsweek covers over the years. Here’s one from 1990 when he was having some trouble with his real estate companies:

trump-newsweek-06181990
So the hair style hasn’t changed much.

Meanwhile, The Economist yet again shows us that British humor and intellect always arrives with an arched eyebrow.

the-economist-022716-trump
Apparently so.

 

Meanwhile, The New Yorker, the sophisticated tongue in cheek publication from Trump’s hometown has had great fun mocking the developer turned presidential candidate in a series of off-beat covers.

new-yorker-trump-pics

Across the island, New York Magazine, which avoids illustrated covers went with a more posed picture of Trump during it’s expose on how his campaign operates.

new-york-mag-040416-trump
That is some seriously huge manspread.

Years ago, John F. Kennedy, Jr. identified the intersection between politics and entertainment and launched George Magazine. In fact, you may remember that back in 2000 Trump flirted with the idea of running for president and this was covered in the February/March issue of the magazine.

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-6-01-33-pm
So apparently we have seen this before.

It is fitting, then, that this year The Hollywood Reporter got into the act in June with their own Trump cover.

hollywood-reporter-061016-trump
Will Hollywood support Trump?

To show how politics has become entertainment, the newsstand champ, People Magazine asked “Who is the Real Donald Trump?” in their April cover.

people-mag-041116-trump
It’s a little late to ask that question now.

 

In the end, what all these magazine covers have in common is their immediacy. They’re on topic and address something that is important to their audiences. They approach their main cover topic (Trump) with respect and understanding of their audience. The New Yorker, for example, always has a pointed, sarcastic spin on the city and their cover topic.

Back in June, I announced what I thought were the five most egregious covers to date for 2016. Coming in at number four was this cover.

dujour-melania-trump-8193f6b1-1ba0-4995-a43b-067b18781603
Sorry, Melania

To my mind, Melania Trump can certainly stand alone on the cover of a luxury magazine. Having Trump lurking in the background strikes me as a bit creepy.

So what Trump covers have I missed from this year? What do you like or dislike about them?

*For the record, I should probably pick up the phone and call the nice folks down at MagNet and ask them if they have the count. Chances are they probably do.

The Top Ten Magazine Covers of 2015: The Completely Biased, Highly Subjective, Unscientific List

Well, that’s (almost) over. Depending on what list you look at, either we had a giant bumper crop of magazine start-ups, or we held our own. Print subscriptions are getting sold for next to nothing, digital subs are going nowhere, and newsstand circ is somewhere in the neighborhood of Hades.

If anyone can find a 24 foot mainline in their neighborhood supermarket, let me know.

But the actual magazines. They looked great. Lest we forget while we drool over the digital gee-gaws and debate pricing policy, in the end, it’s all about the written word, the way the written word is laid out, the way the pictures help tell the story.

How do we attract our readers? With great covers.

Other “Top Ten” lists demonstrate the best sellers or look at the top titles from the top companies. Here on the Titanic, with the deck now listing bow down at 40 degrees, the rules are the same as they were in the past two years: What grabbed my attention as I walked by? What made me stop, back up, take another look and pick it up.

For complete transparency: in a few cases some of these selections were brought to my attention via an internet based article or news release. In those cases, I went out in search of a copy (I’d highly recommend using MagNet’s “MagFinder” app) after seeing the great cover in pixels. The future of bricks and mortar retail will be in how we use digital to encourage people to leave their homes.

Please stay tuned because in the next post  I’m giving you four “Runner’s Up” and for the first time ever on the Titanic, a brand new award: “The Year’s Most Egregious Cover”. Is it going to be clickbait? Oh, you bet.

The Ten Best Covers For 2015

#1: Time Magazine May 5, 2015

Here’s a great case where black and white and white and limited cover lines tell the story. How stark. How immediate. How recognizable. The point is quickly made and simple to understand.

Time May 11 2015
Is this Ferguson in 2015? Or 1968?

 

#2: Hi-Fructose Magazine Spring 2015

Timing is everything. About the time the movie Big Eyes about the artist Margaret Keane arrived, Hi-Fructose Magazine put a perfect demonstration of a perfect illustrated cover onto the rack. Again, all of the cover lines rules are broken, but in this case, they are not necessary.

Hi-Fructose-v34-cover-e1419442347590
The illustration says it all.

#3: Paleo Magazine June/July 2015

Food magazines continue to thrive on the newsstand. Take a look at any sized mainline and what you will see is both regular frequency and book-a-zines taking up more and more space. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about the “paleo” diet movement. After stopping, backing up, picking up, and then buying the June/July 2015 issue, I learned something new. And come on, that salmon looks really good.

06-15_Paleo-Magazine-cover
Seriously, that looks really delicious!

#4: Hour Detroit Magazine August 2015

All city magazines have “Food” issues and “Best Restaurant” issues and “Best New Chef” awards. They sell well, everyone likes them, and they’re a great way to show the world something unique about your community. But doing a good food cover is not easy. Hour Detroit accomplished that feat this year. Who knew vegetables could look so good?

hour-aug15-issue-da003c65
None of those vegetables came from my garden.

#5: Wonderland Magazine March 2015

While I don’t think I match the target demographics of this UK lifestyle import, I look for every issue at my local Barnes & Noble, follow them on Instagram and just find their editorial and their social media very intriguing. For the second year in a row, Wonderland gets placed in the top 10 covers. This year they break the rules about black and white covers. Successfully.

Wonderland Feb-Mar 15
Kristen Stewart was featured in the March issue.

#6: Tie – Ebony Magazine November 2015 & New York Magazine July 27, 2015

How many covers did the Cosby Show snag back in the 1980’s? How many young men and women wished their dads had the wit and wisdom of Clifford Huxtable? The sheer immensity of the rape allegations against Bill Cosby and the betrayal the black community felt because of them is clearly, poignantly and brilliantly on display in both of these covers.

#7
A sad story, powerfully told.

#7: Tie – The New Yorker  January 19, 2015 & Bloomburg Business Week April 6, 2015

It takes a moment to remember that before this Fall’s terrible terrorist attacks in Paris, there was another attack in Paris on the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine. This illustration says everything with just a simple twist on the iconic Eiffel Tower. No cover lines are necessary. On the other hand, Business Week’s cover says everything with the image. But the headline, “The IRS Sucks” will fool you unless you read the tag line and realize that they’re talking about the people who work for the embattled tax collection agency.

Copy of Entertainment Weekly
Two eloquent covers, one with words.

#8: Redbook Magazine September 2015

While “authentic” is an overused and abused buzzword in the world of marketing, Redbook went with it anyway with their powerful Fall cover that featured “Real Women” (Not actresses or models). Did it work? You bet.

o-REDBOOK-SEPTEMBER-COVER-facebook
Real women, real fashion.

#9: Dazed & Confused September 2015

I have to admit that this difficult to find UK import was one I didn’t find on the racks. I follow them on social media and this issue made me click through to see the cover. I think it’s a perfect example of how the alternative fashion ‘zine world completely obliterates all of the rules about successful newsstand covers, and is still successful. If I’d seen this on the racks? I would have stopped and picked up a copy.

Dazed September Covers
Click on this!

 

#10: Canoe & Kayak  June 2015

This activity magazine from the publisher formerly known as Source Interlink hits all the right high notes with their traditional but engaging cover. Beautiful blue serene waters? Check. Great cover lines focusing on the “Best” and even “26 Best”? Check. Does anyone know the science behind the trend of three separate topics in the skyline? I see it everywhere and I actually like it.

Canoe Kayak June 15
Admit it, you want to be there.

And there you have it. A completely subjective list of the best covers of the year. In the comments below, feel free to chime in with your selections for the best things you saw out on the newsstand.

Next up! The runners up for best cover and the first annual “Most Egregious Cover of The Year.”

 

 

 

 

You’re Not Cosmopolitan

Music to quietly hum to yourself every time a vendor calls with this “problem.”

Update: The artist who took the self portrait for the cover in question, Ana Alvarez-Errecalde contacted me this afternoon requesting the following clarification. After Facebook censored the cover image, it was the artist, Ana Alvarez who changed the image by placing the red dot on her chest. In her words, this solved the problem by both drawing attention to the magazine and pointing out the double standards in society. It also made two versions of the cover, the censored going out to the newsstand, and the uncensored out to subscribers. In the end, this was a consensus decision reached by both the artist and Hip Mama.

A number of years ago, my client list included an “alternative art” magazine that had the tendency to include NSFW pictures inside it’s book. I had no problem with this, and as near as I could tell, neither did anyone else who actually read the magazine. On the other hand, one of our major retailers had a significant problem with the content and would periodically relegate the magazine to the back of the rack or require the publisher to polybag.

Eventually, the retailer wound up requiring the publisher to polybag every single issue. The upside of this was that sales went up (Forbidden fruit anyone?).

During a conversation with the publisher about this issue, the subject of Cosmopolitan and some of their objectionable cover lines and images was brought up. “So why do they pick on us?” the client wanted to know.

“It’s simple,” I replied, “You’re not Cosmopolitan.”

It would be nice if the world and it’s participants would play fair. But tsunamis wash over the righteous and the unrighteous. Houses burn down, terminal illnesses blossom. And large vertical corporate entities get to decide who they want to mess with and who they will reward by whatever rules they decide to abide by at that particular time. If you don’t like it, feel free to complain to your consultant. It’s what we’re paid for.

Hip Mama magazine is a small, buzz worthy magazine with a small newsstand footprint.

Recently their editor did the smart thing, placed an image of their upcoming cover on their Facebook page. The readers responded. Apparently mostly positively.

Editor’s note: Dear Publishers, there is no reason all of you can not start immediately doing this simple task. Thank you.

The cover image in question was of a Spanish based artist  who wore a Spider Man mask and was breastfeeding her son.

It kind of makes sense for a magazine called Hip Mama.

The artist is topless, her son is wearing is wearing the rest of the Spider Man costume. He’s four years old.

The latest issue of Hip Mama
The latest issue of Hip Mama

Frankly, I see nothing wrong with the image. But unfortunately I can  understand that a distributor or retailer, even one that would happily carry Hip Mama may hesitate for a moment. It turned out that Facebook had a problem with this image and had them take it down. Then Hip Mama‘s newsstand vendor contacted them and told them they had some problems with the cover.

Of course, regular readers of this blog may remember this:

So 2012...
So 2012…

Yes, we have passed this way, again.  And again and again.

Periodically, larger magazines like Time, or Marie Claire, or Cosmopolitan, have something on their cover that incites someone, somewhere and the issue gets pulled. It gets placed behind other titles, covered up, what have you. Usually this will only happen in one or two retailers of any note.

 

A number of years back, Marie Claire got "censored" rather publicly... Source: FishbowlNY
A number of years back, Marie Claire got “censored” rather publicly… Source: FishbowlNY

It is a little rare these days for the majority of a shipment to get censored.

You have to hand it to the editor at Hip Mama and the artist. They came up with a very clever and sensible solution. The tag line for the publication is “No Supermom’s Here” and they put it in a large red dot over the artists chest. Everything got covered up.

Ready to ship!
Ready to ship!

The publisher also invited readers to buy the “uncensored” cover directly from them therefore bypassing those squeamish vendors and retailers.

My simple unpaid, unsolicited and uninvited advice to the publisher is this: I love it. Keep it up. Keep pushing the boundaries. But be prepared. You’re not Cosmopolitan.

 

 

 

 

The Completely Biased, Highly Subjective, Unscientific List of the Top Ten Magazine Covers of 2013

Editor’s Note: Music to accompany this post, courtesy of YouTube, the angel voiced Syd Straw and David Letterman.

Another year, another add to the many “Best of” lists we get to read and enjoy.

Late last week a colleague called me. He was full of laments. The year had started with such promise, he said, and ended on such a sour note. It felt like the wheels had completely blown off and everything was crashing down.

Well, that seems a bit extreme. But if it seems to you that our shallow little bay of the great magazine sea is suffering from a bad case of the red tide, you’d be on target.

In previous years, I’ve tried to judge cover selections by what conformed to some of the industry standards for cover treatment. Did the covers help newsstand sales? Was there a “good use” of cover lines or cover treatment?

This year, in honor of declining sales, added fees, relaunches that exploded on the launch pad, I’ve gone more informal. The criteria (which I changed early on) is simple: What grabbed my attention when I walked by?

So here they are in all their deck listing (at least by 30 degrees) glory: 2013’s Completely Biased, Highly Subjective and Unscientific Best Magazine Covers.

1) For the first time in two years, perennial winner, Vogue was not only tumbled from her top slot, but we don’t see Vogue anywhere in the rankings. Too much time in the checkout lanes scanning the iPhone? This year, the always fresh Texas Monthly takes the top spot with a look into the Dixie Chicks controversy. Great image, great cover lines, and bonus points for working the great songwriter Steve Earle into the skyline.

April 2014 Texas Monthly
April 2014 Texas Monthly

2) Here’s an interesting case of a magazine I didn’t see at retail (See, already broke my own rules). But I did see the image batted all around social media and my first thought upon seeing the cover was “Great image!” And then, Lorde’s new song turned into a earworm that would not go away. So does this Billboard cover set an example of a cover image that lives and promots beyond retail and print?

Billboard, September 14 Issue 35
Billboard, September 14 Issue 35

3) Cynics think that regional magazines are all about “Top Docs” and “Best Restaurants”. But regional magazines are so much more and the best can go far beyond simple service and feature journalism. The May issue of Boston Magazine expressed everything that needed to be said about the marathon bombing.

Boston Magazine May issue
Boston Magazine May issue

4) I’ve never been a big fan of cover tabs and pop up images in the corner are even less of a turn on for me. But my favorite magazine, Entertainment Weekly gets a nod this year for their excellent image featuring the upcoming YA adaptation of Divergent.

Entertainment Weekly 06/28/13
Entertainment Weekly 06/28/13

5) When I browse several nearby Barnes & Noble stores, I always scan the back of the racks where the imports are. I have a huge weakness for UK and Aussie titles. This year Love Magazine celebrated it’s fifth birthday and featured five unique covers to highlight the event. All of them are great. But this was the first one that jumped out at me and made me pay attention.

Love Magazine (Conde Nast) 5th anniversary issue
Love Magazine (Conde Nast) 5th anniversary issue.

6) The kerfluffle about New York Magazine changing it’s frequency was really much ado about nothing, as far as I was concerned. Magazines change frequency. Business plans adjust to meet new marketplace realities. That’s life. But in the meantime, look and this cover and tell me it doesn’t make you smile! And want to do a selfie on a spacewalk!

New York Magazine 05/27/13
New York Magazine 05/27/13

7) A few months ago, I was in a local Walgreens when an older gentleman walked up to the counter and asked the cashier if they had TV Guide in stock. “No,” she said, “We don’t have anything like that.” Ouch! Well, in the last reporting cycle, TV Guide  had a circulation of over 2 million, over 800K Twitter followers and more than 100K followers on Facebook. Is that has big as they used to be? No. Are they still in business and adjusting to new realities? Yes. This year, they celebrated their 60th anniversary with a selection of really great covers. Here’s the one that took me in at first glance (on display in that Walgreens).

TV Guide's 60th Anniversary 1 of 6 covers
TV Guide’s 60th Anniversary 1 of 6 covers.

8) The “Person of The Year” is a big deal at Time Magazine and this year not only did they choose well, but they crafted a cover that really captures the image and humanity of the new pope.

Time Magazine 12/23/13
Time Magazine 12/23/13.

9) I’m never sure what to conclude about this statistic. Outside Magazine’s single copy sales are about what they were when I worked at the magazine over twenty years ago. Whatever you conclude, the publication continues to create great covers with bold colors, great images, and clever, but not cute coverlines.

June 2013 Outside Magazine
June 2013 Outside Magazine.

10) Who says newsweeklies can’t catch the imagination and inform the public? Bloomberg Businessweek continued to inspire this year with a series of creative, interesting and occasionally jaw dropping covers. This one really captures not only the content of their feature article, but really makes you laugh out loud. Want to see what the art director, Richard Turley is up to? You can follow him on Twitter @Mr_Turley.

Bloomberg Businessweek 07/15/13.
Bloomberg Businessweek 07/15/13.

So for a moment, let’s drop the worry over where this ship is going. We pretty much know already. Let’s instead celebrate the great creativity that still exists in spades in this industry and the wonderful words and images we try to sell to the public each week.

What covers grabbed your attention this year?

Click here if you want to have your own copy of this years review of covers and see who I chose for the honor of “Runner Up”.

Click here for the best of 2012 and here for the “Runners Up”.

You can find the best of 2011 by clicking here.

And for the very first cover review that ever appeared on the Foredeck, click here.

Dear Time Magazine: Seriously?

Dear Time Magazine:

If you’re wondering why I don’t pick on Newsweek, here’s the reason. It’s hard to take them seriously anymore (Especially after the Princess Di cover).

You, on the other hand, have a long and distinguished record. You have a remarkable publishing pedigree and are still considered the number one domestic newsweekly of record.

Because this is primarily a blog about single copy sales, let me first congratulate you on what will most likely be a successful strategy with your cover image this week. No doubt, your unit sales will show a significant increase. I bet you’ll sell out at most airports. Your bookstore sales will be through the roof. And for the first time in a long time, whatever remaining checkout pockets you have in supermarkets or drugstores will pay for themselves.  The cover image was trenchant, obvious, controversial, linked to an article that didn’t need to be controversial, but will be but not because of it’s content, but because of the cover image.

Congratulations! You sold out and stirred the pot! On Mother’s Day Weekend.

It’s just too bad that you decided to try and reignite the “Mommy Wars” during an election year?

I mean, #Comeonson! Really? A four year old boy standing on a chair breast feeding? A cover line “Are you Mom Enough?” Released on Mother’s Day weekend? Props to your marketing department! I bet what’s left of your single copy sales department will be tired come the end of the week.

But was it necessary? Was it newsworthy?

Feminists often talk about a persons “agency.” I understand this to mean that a person has the ability to make their own choices and accept the responsibility for them. Women, in particular, should have agency when it comes to the home, work, child rearing. How they carry children, choose to birth to them,  nourish them in their earliest years, should primarily be their decisions. After all, in all of those cases, the child will be a part of mother’s body and it is her body. It should be her choice. Who are we to judge? In the long history of this world, can we really point to one time in history and say “These people did it right?

After all, I think it was the Mayans who used wooden planks to shape their children’s heads. They approved of that.

The Romans, who our Founding Fathers revered, “exposed” unwanted children (Something now guaranteed to get you on the 11:00 news).

There was really nothing in that article that screamed “cover story” as I read it. There is nothing in the article that suggests a full out revolution of “attachment” parenting. While the article is interesting, it is not revolutionary.

Apparently the retailers who carry the magazine have yawned, said, “No big deal” and moved on. While this is an improvement over what has happened in past years, it makes me wonder: Is it because the image wasn’t considered “controversial”? Or was it because we’ve finally managed to make the retail marketing of magazines that much more marginal?

So good luck with your increased sales. Will people remember the story of Dr. Sears a week from now? Nope, but they may remember the mom breastfeeding a four year old. They may remember sudden flare up on blogs covering the “Mommy Wars.”

In other words, they will have missed the point.

Dear Time Magazine: Really?

I came across this interesting digression in cover treatment while searching for candidates for my annual annual unscientific  “10 Best Covers” of the year post.

Let’s leave aside the politics of the cover selection. A series of politically oriented blogs have already addressed that. Frankly, in this instance I am inclined to read them, and agree with them.

Really? (Source: Time.com/time/magazine)

I get what the anxiety story is trying to say. It looks like an interesting article and it’s an important topic in today’s environment. But the real story around the world today is “revolution”. The “revolution” was caused by anxiety over the future and the way that governments (in the case of this article, the Egyptian government) and organizations that have power over you (like corporations) behave in the today’s world. So let’s be real: Treat the American public like adults, and trust them to respond appropriately to the cover.

This smacks of self censorship. I think we could have handled the cover.