February 22, 2008 by Colin
You open up a freshly-purchased magazine, and dozens of subscription cards fall out. They clog up every third page, stick to feature layouts, and make you slip on the floor.
It’s a giant waste of paper. And Outside magazine recognizes that its readers, in particular, may not appreciate the mess:
“… Beginning with the March issue, the magazine is cutting roughly 20 million annual sub cards in an effort to save trees and be more sustainable, a palpable concern among its rootsy readers …” (Folio)
Outside seems to think growth from online subscription renewals will eventually replace treeware renewals.
But magazine publishers continue to insist that subscription cards are an essential part of their marketing strategy. After all, what better marketing is there than overpricing single issue sales and then undermining that strategy with a campaign of large scale and drastic pricing cuts based on volume sales?
I think U.S. automakers can answer that question.
Nevertheless, Wired magazine tells us in a blog post that
“…they’re part of our business model. It’s not just about money, really — it’s about your eyeballs. See, advertisers pay based on audience size. And blow-in cards are a cheap way to snag subscribers and boost numbers: It costs a glossy monthly about $10 to acquire a new reader through one of those cards. But using direct mail? $25 — or more…”
As Rex pointed out, Wired delivered this ecologically unfriendly and largely unwanted news in a lighthearted design – in the print version of the magazine, their note about blow-in cards was printed in the design of a … blow-in card.
Unfortunately, the “Death to Blow-Ins” Facebook cause only has 29 members, so this marketing gimmick may have years of longevity left.
[tags] magazine subscription, blow-in cards [/tags]