Magazine boss Nick Chan: We’ve done a shit job at branding our medium

The chairman of the trade body for Australia’s major magazine publishers has said that the medium has done a “shit” job at branding itself.


Nick Chan – chairman of Magazine Publishers of Australia – was responding to comments from OMD’s head of print Simon Davies during a Mumbrella Question Time held as part of Magazine Week.

Davies said: “There are not a lot of distinct magazine brands out there. What has happened over time is that a lot of magazines have just got very similar. There are fewer and fewer titles that you look at and go ‘I have to have that magazine’. The editorial content is often quite similar.”

But Chan, who is also CEO of Pacific Magazines, described Davies’ comments as “hogwash”.  

Chan said: ‘We’ve done a shit job of actually branding our medium out there, haven’t we?. Simon thinks they’re a commodity. They’re not. It’s as simple as that. The audience don’t do that.”

Chan added later: “We’re incredibly defensive when we talk. We say we’re not quite dead, we’ve still got a pulse. We do need to actually be really proud of our magazines in the printed form, the circulations and what we do with that.

“We have this incredible relationship. We have the hearts and the minds of our consumers. We need to bring it to the fore and show that it works.”

Asked about whether magazines should be marketing themselves as media brands rather than simply magazines, Peter Russell, GM of marketing for Fisher & Paykel, urged publishers:  “Please dont rush in. Please don’t be generic. Your goal is to be unique.”

And Geoff Hird, chairman of Publishers Australia, which represents niche title, added : “We publish magazines. Don’t lose that point. You can’t just suddenly become brands. We’ve got something that’s at the heart and sould of what we do, and that’s producing magazines.”

Meanwhile, ad sales people signalled their frustration at getting their messages heard by media agencies and marketers.

Responding to a question from the audience, Russell said: “I really feel for you. People like me have to put up barriers… or I’d be driven completely and utterly mad.”

And Davies warned: “The key thing is about providing relevant information, and that doesn’t happen that often. You have a lot of people that will come in with a 25 slide PowerPoint presentation when actually an email would have got it across.”


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