Largest Magazine Proposes to Break World Record Again

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Less than a year after its February/March 1998 issue entered the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the largest consumer magazine ever published, Bride's Magazine has launched a 5,000-piece mail campaign to its advertisers to hype its February/March 1999 issue.


Bride's, a bi-monthly magazine of Conde Nast Publications Inc., New York, designed the campaign to bring more ad dollars to the issue, which -- because of the annual introduction of new spring bridal fashions -- is traditionally the magazine's largest. The three-part mailing -- which will target past advertisers, their agencies and businesses Bride's hopes to take on as advertisers -- plays up the magazine's almost 5 million-strong readership and increased number of press impressions.


Bride's packed 939 pages of advertising into its February/March issue earlier this year, well in excess of the magazine's more typical ad page count of 400 to 500. The issue had a total of 1,160 pages and weighed 4.1 pounds. It wants the 1999 issue to be even larger.


"We're trying to draw attention to our February/March issue and the fact that bigger is better, especially in the bridal category," said Bride's promotion director Kimberly Fasting. "The issue has been a blockbuster in the past."


Fasting said the mailings, which went out Sept. 28, Oct. 12 and Oct. 26, have seen a response rate in the range of 10 percent to 15 percent so far. In the first mailing, respondents were offered a chance to win a $6,000 diamond ring if they could correctly answer four multiple-choice questions about the 1998 February/March issue's "Guinness Book" listing, circulation, sales and number of print impressions. Respondents faxed their replies back to Bride's.


The second mailer, which touted the magazine's high circulation and "big spender" readership, encouraged respondents to take a similar fax-back quiz, in exchange for which they could win a four-day, three-night weekend for two to Las Vegas. The deadline on the fax-back was Oct. 30.


In addition to giving the correct answers to some of the previous mailings' quiz questions, Bride's last mail piece enclosed a free five-minute calling card and asked recipients to dial up a toll-free number to give their answers to yet another quiz. The call, answered by a recording of Bride's publisher Deborah Fine, lets respondents enter their answers using their touch-tone pad. The winner this time gets a $2,100 diamond engagement ring. The mailing encourages advertisers to reserve a space in the Bride's "must-buy" February/March issue before it closes on Nov. 2.


"We're very excited about it," Fasting said. "Everybody seems to be responsive to the mailers and … very excited about winning the prizes. In fact, we've had some people even circle the prize and write, 'I must win this ring.' We are talking about some very key clients with opinions we respect."


After putting the final touches on the February/March issue, Bride's will make it available on newsstands -- where the magazine gets most of its sales -- on Dec. 20. The publication handled all aspects of the campaign inhouse, including the mailings' layout and design.


Advertisers in Bride's include companies in the "tabletop" market, comprising china, flatware, crystal and housewares, plus businesses in bridal fashion, honeymoon travel and other firms like telecommunications giant AT&T Corp. and electronics company Sony Corp.
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