Newsagent Mark Fletcher writes:



Many magazine publishers are addicted to giveaway
products attached to the front of or packaged with their magazines. What started as a point of difference for some
has become an epidemic pursued by many. Giveaways
with magazines no longer mean the kick in sales they used to.

A review of 1,500 titles on the shelves of
newsagencies on 18 May revealed 195 titles offering giveaways of one form or
another:

  • Magazines with a premium booklet,
    back issue or book attached to the cover or included in a sealed bag: 66.
  • Magazines with a CD, DVD, CD-ROM,
    etc: 70.
    While these have been popular in the music, computers, and video games
    sections, they are a recent trend in fishing, family tree, car, camera mags and
    craft magazines.
  • Children’s magazines with small
    toys, bracelets etc: 26
  • Titles with more unusual giveaways:

Australian OK:hot
chocolate mix
WHO:
hot
chocolate mix
Shop Til You Drop: tote bag
EVE (UK):
scarf
GQ (AUS):
hair
care products
Glamour:
tote
bag
Vogue Entertaining: oven
mitt
Donna Hay:
organiser*

Marie Claire: tote
bag
Delicious:
chocolate
bar
New Woman: umbrella
Men’s Health:
beanie
Homes & Antiques: postcards
Girlfriend:
headband
CHIK: photo
album*
SFX: playing
cards *

Computer Arts Projects: two “designer toys”
Red Line
LED
: car accessory
Fast Car
LED
:
car accessory
Autosalon:
tote
bag
Fast Fours: stubby
holder
Modern Fishing: stubby
holder

* these giveaway products are also
sold separately in newsagencies.

On top of all this giveaway largesse
are craft magazines which offer gifts every month. While non-obtrusive, these extras often
require that those mags are wrapped in plastic to prevent theft:

Simply Knitting: “loopa”
tool
Scrapbook Inspirations: photo
corners
Paper Creations: craft
paper

Craft Stamper: stamp and stickers

Cardmaking & Papercraft: decoupage
pack

Creative Cardmaking: decoupage
pack

Cross Stitcher: craft
kit
World of Cross Stitch: craft
kit

Stitches: craft
chart

Cross Stitch: craft
chart

Cross Stitch Gold: Mother’s Day cards

Giveaways mean product cannot be stacked as
efficiently; the magazine cover is not clearly visible; more retail
space is
needed to display stock; many titles with giveaways are put in sealed
bags, deter browsing and therefore hinder sales. Consumers enjoy
browsing magazines. Some rip open the bag and make the product
unsaleable while others don’t browse and don’t buy.

Whereas in the past companies provided giveaway
product at no cost and even paid for it to be included, today many charge
publishers for product.

Publishers are faced with a dilemma. Do they try and break the habit or do they go
in harder such as the New Woman
umbrella offer? The risk of the New
Woman approach is that consumers will expect it.

The only solution I see is an intervention to get
the publishers back on track and focused on what’s under the masthead rather
than what is in front of it.

Pictures taken from Fletcher’s Australian Newsagency blog.