Do you like or dislike ads on magazine covers? Why?
Zayden Lockhart

Setting the Stage: Ads on Magazine Covers

I'm a bloke who derives profound joy from one simple activity - flipping through the glossy pages of a magazine. Back in the days before smartphones and Netflix, I would visit my local newsagents daily, clutching my coins, eager to score the latest issue of the most popular read of the moment. Comics, motor magazines, celebrity gossip rag... I've devoured them all. And what's the first thing I see upon picking up a new shiny print material? An advertisement. An ad smack dab on the magazine cover. For some, it might be an annoyance, an outright eyesore. Yet, there are those who appreciate the allure of these irresistible sales pitches, myself included.

There They Are: The Case for Advertisements on Covers

When my daughter Phoebe rushes to me, waving the latest issue of her favorite teen magazine, excitement bursting out of her, the ad on the cover barely bothers her. Instead, she's all giddy about the glittering beauty product being thrust to prominence. And why wouldn't she? As prospective buyers, adverts on magazine covers offer us a sneak peek into what's currently buzzing in the market. They are billboards, right there on the glossy page, giving us a glimpse of the latest trends or must-have products.

A well-placed ad on a magazine cover is more than just a tool to sell goods or services. It's a conversation starter. Remember that time at the barbie when your mate was waffling about the newest four-wheel drive featured on the front page of that motor magazine? A good cover ad generates excitement, enthusiasm, stirring both interest and debate amongst readers.

The Flip Side: The Intrusive Ad Attack

But as much as I'm a fan of cover ads, I can't ignore the cohort of folks who find it obtrusive. My son Harrison, who has inherited my love for magazines, often plonks himself on the sofa, a sports magazine in his hands, furrowed in deep concentration. He's there for the articles about his favourite footy players or race car drivers, not the trainers being pushed in his face on the cover. To him, the ad interrupts the flow of his eagerness to immerse in the thick of the content. I understand his perspective, ads on magazine covers can sometimes feel intrusive, diverting the reader's instant attention from what they originally sought - content.

Interestingly, to counter the issue of the intrusive ad attack, many publishers have thoughtfully integrated the advertisement with the magazine's title, content teases, and main cover image. This raises a valid question: If implemented skillfully, can ads enhance the appeal of a magazine cover rather than detract from it?

Success Stories: Standing Ovation for Cover Ads Done Right

With the growth of digital media, print publications have had to step up their game. And frankly, they're doing a stellar job. We now see greater creativity and novel approaches in cover ads, making them more immersive, interactive, and exciting. Just think back to Kylie Jenner's lip kit promotion on Cosmoplitan's cover. The ad not only blended seamlessly with the rest of the design but also incited a buying frenzy, leading to the product being sold out within minutes of hitting stands. Truly, a standing ovation for cover ads done right.

Then there were those genius covers that used visual tricks to ingrain the ad in the readers' minds. Remember that iconic National Geographic cover with the plastic bag mimicking an iceberg which coincided with an advertisement for their Planet or Plastic campaign? The advertisement enhanced the shock value of their campaign and added significant depth to their narrative, moving away from being a simple commercial pitch to a powerful environmental statement.

To Ad or Not to Ad: The Verdict

Ah, the eternal debate of whether ads on magazine covers are a boon or bane continues. But here’s the thing. As much as there may be some discord, advertisements on magazine covers aren't going anywhere. They become part of the visual landscape that readers subconsciously absorb, just like we hardly notice the ads scattered across our social media feeds. They are vital sources of revenue for publications and their importance in our print culture cannot be overlooked.

In the end, whether you love them or loathe them, it's safe to say that ads on magazine covers have become more than just a selling tool - they are an art form in themselves. Smart, witty, provocative or just plain loud, they make an impact, and isn't that the essence of what makes reading a magazine such a distinct experience?

So, the next time you grab a magazine off the rack, consider the ad on the cover before you flick it open - you might be surprised at what you find!

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