Outdoor Canada captures elusive male target

Outdoor Canada, the country's only national outdoor sports magazine, has just completed its second year of new ownership and a revamped, more-focused editorial direction.

Outdoor Canada, the country’s only national outdoor sports magazine, has just completed its second year of new ownership and a revamped, more-focused editorial direction.

Media buyers and planners using this niche publication call the makeover a success, saying it really delivers on that hard-to-reach 25-to-54 male demo.

Heather Gilker, group account director at Initiative Media in Toronto, says she uses Outdoor Canada for Home Depot advertising and that it has been a very valuable tool for its target group.

‘[For Home Depot] we want to reach males that are within the 25-to-54 group, own a home, perhaps even own a vacation home, and have a relatively good household income. We do know, based on PMB, that a high percentage of the magazine’s readers are shopping at Home Depot. That certainly entices us to use Outdoor Canada,’ says Gilker.

‘It has a very efficient cost-per-thousand and maintains that level throughout all the other categories we look at, such as households that purchase tools.’

Outdoor Canada was launched in 1972 with an editorial focus that covered a broad range of outdoor sports. The eight-times-a-year magazine was purchased by Avid Media of Markham, Ont. in fall 1998 and reformatted for a narrower target of anglers and hunters.

PMB 2001 reports that Outdoor Canada has an average circulation of 82,422 per issue and one of the highest readers-per-copy numbers, 23.5, for consumer magazines with a 30,000-plus circulation.

Jacqueline Howe, publisher of Outdoor Canada, says the latest PMB numbers confirmed 2.1 million total readers per issue with about one-third of that female. Female readers aside, she says the book is strongest with adult males. From an age perspective, 38% of the audience is in the 35-to-49 bracket, while 27% of readers are between 25 and 34.

‘The typical Outdoor Canada reader is very ecologically aware, a mix of blue and white collar, fairly mobile and travels a lot. He has a lot of disposable income to support the areas of interest to him, [such as] fishing and the outdoors.’

Howe says that since Avid purchased the magazine, there has been a rise in advertising categories outside of typical outdoor equipment, with automotive, men’s hair grooming and home improvement products joining the traditional boat, motor and hunting and fishing gear brands.

Kimberley Nash, media planning manager for OMD Canada, says reaching a male target group is always very difficult, particularly with magazines, because guys don’t spend a lot of time with them in general. But, she says, Outdoor Canada reaches a significant number of males.

‘I think overall it reaches 70% male readers, and something like 12% of all men read this magazine. I’ve looked at it from the perspective of automotive, but I think it’s also a good environment for outdoor wear, tourism and to some extent financial because readers tend to have a $50,000-plus income. There’s a good level of disposable income and good opportunities there.’

Nash adds that the publication is very flexible in creating interesting opportunities for media buyers. ‘[It has] good reach, is very targeted and [there is] the mentality of a vertical publication that’s fighting for share. They don’t take the results for granted.’

Niche interest magazines showed some serious gains in the latest PMB against general interest publications, Nash points out, indicating that a strategy that pursues client goals from a niche perspective is likely to get good results at a lower cost.