Tuesday 23 January 2018

Cox touches on magazine issues

Core Media group boss Alan Cox
Core Media group boss Alan Cox
Roy Keane opens up about life after football with Guide Dog Owner Kevin Kelly. Roy is pictured with Guide Dog Riever

Michael Cullen

Digital is not going to wipe print media from the face of the earth. Print is not dead. In fact, it's not even in a coma. 100 years from now, people will still be reading their favourite newspaper, magazine or book. People like things they can touch, they like how they smell and they like to be around them. So says Core Media group boss Alan Cox, pictured.

Addressing Magazine Ireland's Publishing 360 annual conference, Cox says people touch something they like, the brain releases oxytocin, which calms them and produces feelings of well-being. People are tactile beings. Almost two-thirds of people prefer to drink Coke from a glass bottle and one third say the feel of a mobile phone matters more than how it looks.

Research by Millward Brown found that touch can increase a consumer's perception of value by a quarter. It is the reason why vinyl is making a comeback in the music industry. Publishers can exploit the pure physicality of a magazine, together with its weight and texture.

It doesn't end there. For years, magazines have helped sell perfumes through the use of the scent in ads. But, Cox asks, have Irish publishers ever considered the role smell can have in the bond readers have with a magazine?

Consumers often cite the "new car smell" as one of the most enjoyable aspects in buying a new car. Yet the smell comes from an aerosol can, which is sprayed throughout the interior as each car rolls off the production line. That's not to say the tangibility and odour factors will halt digital's march forward; far from it, but there's enough demand to build a viable, niche medium.

Cox says there's no point in magazines trying to challenge other media on numbers. They must work to their strengths and find their own place to play. Publishers should invest in digital apps and websites. To get more ads, magazines need to embrace cross-media research. Agencies and media want to build a research platform with audience reach analysis across multimedia campaigns.

Cox says it's crazy to think that research only allows advertisers to know the reach of each medium in isolation. Beyond that, advertisers rely on educated guesswork - it's a blot on adland's reputation. Knowing how many readers magazines attract is not enough to win more ads. Advertisers want to know what magazines add to a media plan and what extra reach they deliver. Such information - combined with the qualitative benefits of magazine ads - provides the strongest sales argument.

* New lobbying rules brought in by Minister Brendan Howlin have been broadly welcomed by the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII). Partners in Communication director and PRII president Jaqueline Hall - no stranger to lobbying herself, having worked on promoting nutritional issues for McDonald's - says such activity is vital in a democracy.

From September, all lobbying and public affairs activity must be formally reported. PRII chief executive John Carroll - a former policy adviser to Minister Leo Varadkar - says a poll showed 71pc of his members could be affected by the register. Of these, 82pc said lobbying amounted to, at best, a quarter of their workload.

* To mark Guide Dog Day, Roy Keane, pictured, gave an exclusive interview to guide dog owner Kevin Kelly, who's a member of the Blind Football Ireland squad. The ex-Manchester United midfielder talks about his job as Ireland's assistant manager - "something he didn't envisage happening in a million years". He also speaks about his relationship with former boss Alex Ferguson. He says while he and Fergie fell out towards the end, he had 12 great years with him, which he wouldn't swap for anything. "You're trying to win football matches and there's a lot of pressure... The fact I've disagreements with Ferguson, or ex-team mates, to me that's the most natural thing in the world.

"I get worried if I don't fall out with people every few months!" he joked. Irish Guide Dogs supports 860 people in Ireland and its services are free. Keane's interview can be watched on YouTube.

* An interesting item from the Closing Time back page column in the current edition of 'Drinks Industry Ireland' magazine. Editor Pat Nolan tells readers he came across an old poster from his native Scotland advising drivers to be mindful of how much they drink while driving. The poster from the 1970s urges motorists not to have that fifth pint! Last year, Scotland brought its drink-drive limit into line with Ireland - 50mg per 100ml of blood. England held back on any change to its 80mg per 100ml limit.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: cullen@marketing.ie

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