eye’s new format provides USP

Toronto's eye magazine has shrunk its tabloid format to set itself apart from its main competitor in the city's weekly entertainment paper market, Now magazine.Since infiltrating the Toronto scene in 1991, eye, which is owned by The Toronto Star, has had...

Toronto’s eye magazine has shrunk its tabloid format to set itself apart from its main competitor in the city’s weekly entertainment paper market, Now magazine.

Since infiltrating the Toronto scene in 1991, eye, which is owned by The Toronto Star, has had the same rectangular dimensions as 10-year-old Now and advertisers have had a hard time telling them apart, says Steve Jarrett, editor and assistant publisher for eye.

According to Jarrett, a study on a test ad printed only in eye last summer showed that as many people thought they had seen it in Now as had seen it in eye.

Eye, which like Now appears every Thursday, was not getting credit for its advertising impact, Jarrett says.

Eye’s pages have shrunk more than two inches in length from almost 14 inches to just over 11.

The paper is now a nearly-square-sized tabloid, as opposed to its original long rectangular form.

Eye’s new size may eventually allow the magazine to be printed at The Toronto Star’s new printing presses in Vaughan, Ont., Jarrett says.

In a bid to draw attention to the new look, eye has launched a print and poster campaign, created by Toronto agency Big Black Hat Advertising & Design.

The creative consists of four executions using high-impact visuals and quick-hit headlines.

For example, one shot shows the back of a man squatting with his pants partly pulled down. His half-naked behind appears under the headline ‘Ours are Wiser.’ ‘Wisecracks every Thursday’ is in the body copy at the bottom of the page.

For his part, Now Editor and Publisher Michael Hollett believes eye’s redesign is ‘as good as a surrender.’

‘Face it – you don’t overhaul something that’s working,’ Hollett says. ‘It’s a desperate bid to keep a sinking ship afloat.’

He says upcoming Now advertising will be along the lines of ‘The Big Paper with the Big Audience.’