Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Intelligent Path to High-Worth Readers

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Intelligent Path to High-Worth Readers

Article excerpt

What would legendary Economist editor Walter Bagehot have made of Intelligent Life, its glossy magazine, which has been described as The Economist 'in evening dress, on holiday, and at leisure'?

The magazine's latest brand extension, like Bagehot, involved a lot of due deliberation, not to mention pondering, before its arrival this week. It took the boys and girls of St James's two years to decide whether turning an annual publication into a quarterly was a prudent investment.

The surprising thing is that it has taken The Economist so long to find a way of exploiting the leisure time of the formidable 1.2m Europeans who buy the title every week. While they were sucking their thumbs, Tyler Brule, who used to be known as Jayson, jumped out of the woodwork with Monocle, which plans to publish 10 times a year.

Intelligent Life is a chunky publication with an equally chunky cover price of pounds 4.95, and an editorial approach that can be described only as eclectic. The offerings range from the philosophy of hedonism and 'best buys' on charitable giving, to the intractable problems the rich face, such as how much money it is wise to leave their children.

The most dramatic spread is 'La Chasse', 'a spectacle of grandeur and gore' - or how the French are still totally untroubled by the squeamish thoughts that led to the outlawing of hunting with dogs in the UK.

Some of the pieces have a traditional air about them; twists on very familiar tales such as the family living without electricity on Fifth Avenue in New York or the classical pianist whose recorded performances were faked.

For marketing directors, the most important thing about Intelligent Life is not 'La Chasse' or articles about life in Tokyo, but numbers. The average household net worth of readers of the annual version of Intelligent Life is more than pounds 600,000, with an average personal income of pounds 75,430. Of these, 79% enjoy foreign travel, 63% buy fine foods and wine and 78% read all or most of the publication Assuming those numbers can be translated to the quarterly, a lot of discerning advertisers will want to be there.

A quarterly publication will still pose a considerable editorial challenge; it is not as timeless as an annual, and lacks the relative immediacy of a monthly. …

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