I like holding reading material in my hands and turning pages as I read. I like folding a corner or tucking in a piece of paper to mark where I left off before setting it down. As regards reading, I like not ever having to plug in, power up or power down. I like books and magazines in physical form. All that said, I also read a ton online, but that’s beside the point.
One of the magazines I enjoy reading when it arrives in my mailbox by way of the USPS is Forbes. Occasionally, the magazine is supplemented by the obscenely rich ForbesLife, positioned as “Celebrating the Best of the Best.” I’ve never seen a publication stuffed with more ads for watches that cost more than my car.
Speaking of being stuffed with ads, here’s the primary observation of this post: ForbesLife is stuffed with ads of all kinds. Jammed. Loaded. Choked. With advertising.
One thing I like to do when a new magazine arrives at my home is to pull out all the postcard-sized, heavy stock inserts. With the latest ForbesLife, though, I decided to pull out every page with advertising on both sides. Just for fun and of curiosity. The issue to which I refer is the 20th Anniversary issue, dated September 2010.
I pulled out 14 pages (28 single-sided pages). That included a couple multi-page “advertorial” sections for Marquis Jet and for Charleston, South Carolina.
That left just 35 pages. Of those remaining, 20 had advertising on one of the two sides.
In this tabulation, I was gracious enough to except the “Down Time, For Fall: Effortless Dress-Down Chic” photo spread from the advertising counts, despite the fact that every clothing item is brand-named and priced. For your reference, I’ll run down item and price on one of those pages (randomly selected): $11,390 wool coat, $535 cotton shirt, $790 jeans and $70 belt.
To summarize: 49 total double-sided pages, 98 total sides, 48 sides with advertising.
That’s a fat lot of ads! More than 50% the printed piece is advertising.
Bottom line: ForbesLife is a bridal or high fashion magazine for the super-rich. In bridal and fashion mags, the advertising plays an important, functional role as content.
Beyond the obvious role of revenue-provider to the privately held media company Forbes, Inc., the ads are critical element of the publication for the reader. The advertising in this type of magazine complements the content proper, provides supporting images and information and casts upon the reader a sought-after sense.
In the case of ForbesLife, it’s a sense of opulence.