Are Magazines Obsolete?

Are magazines — and magazine advertising — dying a slow death?

In the movie “In Good Company,” Dennis Quaid single-handedly saves his publishing company’s fading sports magazine by convincing the owner of an auto manufacturer to make a huge ad buy.

When Topher Grace congratulates Quaid on saving the mag, Quaid tells him he also did it for the advertiser’s benefit, stating: “It will be good for his business!”

Topher is stunned. “You mean you actually BELIEVE in this stuff?” he asks Quaid.

Quaid replies: “Of course. Why else would I do it?”

Quaid’s character believed in magazine advertising … but do you?

Do you recommend full-page ad campaigns in business and consumer magazines to your boss or clients today?

Or do you feel that magazines are yesterday’s news — and if so, where do you tell clients to spend marketing dollars instead?

SEO? Google Adwords? Contextual advertising? Direct mail? Telemarketing?

And why?


12 thoughts on “Are Magazines Obsolete?

  • Yeah, I still believe in advertising. Sort of. I don’t recommend blanket ad buys, ever. Never have. But I do beleive that selective placement of ads can be useful to reinforce the overall message we send to a market. If a publication is a target for your editorial (ie PR), it should at least be on the consideration list for advertising and other marketing promo.

    Especially with consumer and niche products. Perhaps less so with B2B.

  • Depending (obviously!) on what you’re selling, local newspapers can be very good. You might be surprised how many people read them — especially when they are looking for something in the neighborhood. Direct mail is also a stable workshorse for my clients.

  • I think advertising in magazines has a small demographic. The only people I know still reading magazines are housewives, or my mother, picking up a copy of Star Magazine or the Enquirer at the grocery store checkout lane on an impulse buy.

    Also, the only people reading magazines are those on the ‘toilet’ trying to focus on something other than the floor. I don’t know about you but being simple minded and just ‘looking at the pretty ads’ is what I tend to do when I’m on the toilet… then again, that must be too much information for some.

    Anyways, case in point, I agree. Magazines are dying out. At least in my life they are.

    Matthew Peschong

  • I guess it depends on what kind of magazine it is. I’ve never read the Enquirer but I regularly read articles (and ads) in The Economist and in Wirtschaftswoche (a German business magazine).


  • Print advertising is simply one media channel, and yes – some of my clients’ print dollars are heading for online programs instead. It’s neither good nor bad, though I find myself recommending online media to clients because of its bi-directional flow of information (print flows one way).

    Some of my clients are building online communities; they’re reinforcing their brand, driving revenues and creating “brand fanatics” who sell the client’s product for them. Print can be one part of this process (and not every market is ready for this approach), but gone are the days when print got the advertising dollars because it was the only game in town (and happily too).

    Tom Chandler
    The Writer Underground blog

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