This week, magazine marketing agency Magnetic’s CEO Sue Todd speaks to us about their newly-launched ‘Pay Attention’ campaign, aiming to highlight the importance of quality attention to advertisers. She also talks about some of the educational issues around media buyers, the importance of evidence and research, and why she believes magazine media is undervalued.

In the news roundup, a chipper team discuss the Cairncross Review report, analyse the idea of a 50% publisher revenue share from Apple’s news service, and take a look at whether GQ Hype is indicative of an industry that doesn’t know whether it wants to be paid for or free. Katy and Orlando might be engaged; Peter can’t even deal.

In our own words: Esther Kezia Thorpe

I have to confess to not being Magnetic’s biggest fan when they first started out. I found much of their forward-facing communication to be so full of soundbites on the joys of magazines, and how much millennials love advertising, that it almost becomes mindless cheerleading of an industry that is facing some very serious issues.

Which is one reason why I welcomed the chance to talk to its CEO Sue Todd and dig a little deeper. What was clear from the start is that the agency has come a long way since then, with Sue herself saying that they had a number of obstacles to overcome at the beginning with needing to find the evidence.

It was tough to keep track of all the studies and research she talked about that they’ve been involved with since (thank goodness for transcripts!). What became apparent from our conversation is that far from being blind to the problems of print circulation decline and the fight for audience attention, Sue is committed to unearthing the facts and figures that tell a different side of the story.

“Part of the challenge with print…is that the narrative has been for a few years that print is in terminal decline,” she said, talking about the thinking behind their latest ‘Pay Attention’ campaign. “Some of the figures that come out from things like the ABCs, I think have grabbed a lot of headlines…but the launches that are happening in magazines don’t grab as many headlines.”

“Perception-wise, people feel that the decline in print is happening faster than it actually is. If you look at the correlation between the decline in circulation and the decline in ad revenue, the gap is wider.”

Their mission now is to unify publishers and come together as one sector to show that magazine brands still deliver superior ROI for advertisers when compared to other methods. It may be a drop in the ocean, but bringing that conversation around measuring attention and value to the surface at a time when brand safety is a very real concern, especially backed up by all this research, is definitely a good place to start.


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