Money talks

I went to the launch of Blood magazine last night. It is an initiative by the Magazine Publishers Association to provoke interest in enhancing creativity in magazine advertising.

I hope it works.

Casting my mind back to the days when I actually created ads for a living there was nothing more exciting to me than the opportunity to create a double page spread in a glossy consumer magazine. My favourite was the Listener (it was the same size Metro is today. The laminated machine proofs looked sensational in my portfolio).

Today it seems most attention is on television advertising. Apparently it is sexier.

For me the problem with TV was that there were too many people involved. As creative director I took great pleasure in spending more time with a prospective art director or copywriter’s print book than their show reel. Looking at their print work I could tell whether or not they had a command of their craft. Looking at their TV work I couldn’t be sure.

Of course there is a real talent to making television commercials. Most often it is visible in very simple ideas, beautifully executed. But it is the execution that is problematic. There are simply too many steps in the process, too many vested interests (client’s, directors, budgets). Matters often get out of hand.

Looking around the room last night at the, largely, advertising crowd, I was surprised by how few people in the business look familiar to me. There is a whole new wave of talent.

Some of it is evident in the Blood magazine. The model for the publication is to hand the mantle of editorship to the winner of the best ad in the mag. Andy Blood transfused the role to a team from Mojo who produced a nice little idea about land mines (ketchup sachet with message printed on).

As a magazine publisher I applaud the initiative to encourage a better calibre of ads in mags. But, somehow, I have a feeling that issue one will be the n’est plus ultra. The one and only. In a way it is the inverse of one of my favourite magazines–Viewpoint–a book about trends in fashion and marketing. Viewpoint carries no ads, so costs over a hunndred dollars per issue. In the case of Blood magazine there is little substantial content, aside from the ads, and no-one wanted to talk about the cost.

Inspite of the silence, money talks.


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