Here's one way to spend that money: Buy television.
Magazines have been losing advertising dollars to television - specifically to cable TV and the Internet - and so the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) came up with a plan to lure businesses and consumers with a $40 million marketing campaign -- and the genius to seemingly only consider a print campaign.
Media executives will tell you $40 million is the kind of money that can get you the biggest clout and the biggest headlines and the most buzz. But you need to buy TV. Too crazy you say? With a TV approach, everyone will be talking about how outrageous it is for magazines to use TV to market their medium. You can't buy that kind of exposure.
Publicis Groupe's Fallon, New York, the agency which is putting together the advertising plan, has come up with a campaign featuring futuristic print ads from futuristic-looking magazines -- such as Hearst Magazines' Cosmopolitan - to profile their message. The tag line "Read on" stresses the staying power and the 'coolness' of magazines.
But the creatives at Fallon should dig deeper. No doubt they can come up with more outrageous ways of selling the wonders of magazines - via television. Perhaps they can find 'coolness' in that venue. After all, it's still the best medium to reach the most people.
To media executives, it would make sense. Forty million dollars is a lot of media to buy in just magazines -- especially when you leave out TV. Here's another reason to consider TV: Most all of the magazine industry's big advertisers use television.
With a media budget of that size, most, if not all, would assuredly slot a healthy chunk of that $40 million into TV. If publishers really want to endear themselves more to advertisers, they should at least think and act like those companies.
Though it has abandoned network TV, Mitsubishi Motors' marketing chief Ian Beavis says media executives make the wrong assumptions of the plan. The company still buys TV, doing deals with local and national cable as well as local broadcast spot advertising.
Details of the exact media plan for the MPA haven't been revealed.
No doubt much of the media budget isn't paid advertising. Much will come from barter or no-fee arrangements with magazines where little out of pocket money is spent. The $40 million media plan is really $40 million in media value.
Even so, here's some advice for the MPA: One can always make an advertising statement. But you still need to sell product.