Targetability will aid SDM mag

Shoppers Drug Mart will discontinue its Images and HealthWatch magazines and replace them with one new publication called Images Beauty + Health early next year, a move that is being praised by media buyers.

Shoppers Drug Mart will discontinue its Images and HealthWatch magazines and replace them with one new publication called Images Beauty + Health early next year, a move that is being praised by media buyers.

Produced through a new long-term agreement with Rogers Media, the magazine will be sent to 500,000 members of Shoppers’ Optimum card loyalty program and for the first time will also appear on newsstands.

Three different versions of the magazine, which will be published six times a year beginning next March, will be tailored to demographic groups culled from the database, a shift that reflects the way advertisers think about their brands today, says Rob Young, SVP planning and research at Toronto’s Harrison Young, Pesonen & Newell.

‘It sounds to me like Rogers is responding with the sort of media vehicle advertisers want to see. A common complaint from brand managers is why do they have to take all the readers when only one-third are of real interest.’

While the overall target group is women 18 to 49, the ‘Young and Hip’ edition will go to those 18 to 24; the ‘Motherhood’ version will go to mothers of young children and ‘Prestige’ edition will target heavy purchasers of high-end cosmetic and beauty products.

Advertisers will be able to choose to advertise to the complete circulation or to target only the demographic group best suited to their product and message.

According to Mitch Dent, publisher of Images Beauty + Health and VP of the Women’s Group, Rogers Publishing, the glossy will fill a void in this country. ‘There’s no Canadian magazine that’s a health and beauty magazine,’ he says. ‘There are fashion and beauty publications, but the beauty and health mix is where we feel women are right now.’

Although they haven’t even seen prototypes of the new publication yet, media buyers are saying thumbs-up to Images Beauty + Health because of the richness of its reader database and the ability for advertisers to more finely target their consumers.

Unlike the U.S., Canada doesn’t have a lot of highly targeted titles and the Rogers/Shoppers venture is a novel way of answering this need, says Young. By purchasing the demographic they want to target, advertisers will save money, instead of buying into titles with what they consider wasted reach.

Chris Herlihey, director of research for Initiative Media in Toronto, says the benefit of Images is that Shoppers Drug Mart has a brand name that people trust enough to give them personal information.

He also says, ‘ There is often a problem with controlled circulation publications because of wasted circulation but that should be minimized with the database they’re using.

‘I think there are good opportunities and I could see us using it from an advertising point of view, absolutely.’

However, Herlihey cautions that Images will have to be careful when it comes to advertorial/editorial that seems to be pushing Shoppers’ own brands too much.

‘If it’s too self-serving they’re going to turn off national advertisers.’

Sunni Boot, president of Optimedia Canada in Toronto, points out that the new Images is fortunate to be starting from a very strong base. She says that Multi-Vision worked hard to establish Images as a viable and credible advertiser medium with, for example, its participation in PMB.

‘ [Multi-Vision] was one of the few who took a store publication, and made it a legitimate advertising vehicle.

‘The ability of Rogers to enhance that product based on their editorial resources and deeper pockets – and I’m assuming their ability to provide loyalty crossover with the Optimum loyalty program – should make it even more powerful.’

Boot says Optimedia has always been a big supporter of Images magazine.

And even though Shoppers sells its own brand of competing products, Boot is not concerned about editorial bias in the publication.

‘Unless its (editorial bias) is so overt, I don’t see it stopping us. Shoppers is a destination point for consumers and we want our products there.’