Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Tobacco Ads Still Smoking

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Tobacco Ads Still Smoking

Article excerpt

The tobacco category is down--but not entirely out--of magazines these days. And although publishers aren't able to count on the wealth of cigarette ads they could in the past, they're looking ahead to the marketing possibilities of selective binding and database marketing to keep tobacco companies from switching more spending into in-store promotions and other vehicles.

With steady declines in ad revenue from tobacco companies over the last decade--from $373 million in 1981 to $290 million in 1991, according to figures from Leading National Advertisers--the category showed a 29.6 percent drop last year alone. Total ad pages fell from 8,823 in 1981 to 4,535 in 1991, barely keeping tobacco among Publishers Information Bureau's top-10.

One thing hasn't changed in the last 10 years, however. Tobacco companies continue to spend most of their ad dollars in larger-circulation, general-interest consumer books. Back in 1981, Time led the pack with $40 million in tobacco ad revenues, followed by TV Guide with $30 million, Newsweek with $29 million, and Sports Illustrated with $25 million.

By contrast, in 1991, Sports Illustrated was number-one in tobacco-ad spending, with the same $25 million; TV Guide held second place with a diminished $24 million; People Weekly was third with $22 million, and Parade had $18 million in tobacco ad revenue.

For Time Inc., tobacco companies are still vital clients, even though the recession and proliferation of generic brands have made even major cigarette brands more careful in their media placement. Edward McCarrick, associate publisher of Time, says, "I don't think it's a secret that their marketing strategies have changed," and notes that for some cigarette manufacturers, supermarket promotions have proved a better way to boost consumer interest than print ads.

In view of this, McCarrick predicts that selective binding and database management will be used to help maintain strong ties with tobacco advertisers. …

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