Ikea Carves out Space in Publishing World

Ikea this week debuts Space, a custom-published magazine that aims to compete with consumer magazines like Better Homes & Garden and Elle Décor.

“We really want to bring to the magazine market a good quality product,” said Nicole Naumoff, direct marketing manager of North America for Inter Ikea Systems B.V. “We want people to see the value in it as a consumer magazine in and of itself and not just a catalog on the newsstand.”

Ikea, Plymouth Meeting, PA, will distribute 1.2 million copies of Space, including 500,000 copies mailed to Ikea’s best customers, which is about 10 percent of its consumer database. It also will be promoted at point-of-purchase in 20 Ikea retail locations in the United States and Canada and on newsstands here and in Canada.

The custom-published quarterly will serve as a branding vehicle for Ikea, which has managed to keep its brand integrity of quality design intact while maintaining reasonable prices. Ikea has aggressive retail expansion plans for the next few years in key cities, including San Francisco, San Diego and Boston.

“This type of media vehicle that you can mail direct or display on newsstands helps get the brand name out,” Naumoff said. That branding will position Ikea as a provider of sophisticated and smart furniture solutions, she said.

The new magazine, which boasts third-party advertising from blue-chip companies such as Chrysler, Kodak and Oldsmobile, as well as Ikea advertising, was designed by John Brown Publishing, London, which created Room, Ikea’s U.K.-based publication, two years ago. Articles include a guide to Las Vegas, Pilates as a fitness alternative and a progressive dinner party designed by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Ikea furniture is featured in the dinner party layout, but noticeably absent from the Vegas and Pilates pieces.

“It’s not just about Ikea. There are other paid advertisers in there,” Naumoff said. “There should be a level of arm’s length credibility for the reader and not just a magazine that screams ‘Ikea’ everywhere.”

Advertising sales and distribution are handled by luxury magazine publisher Meigher Communications, New York, which publishes Saveur and Garden Design.

“John Brown needed to find a partner in the U.S. who had familiarity with the North American publishing market,” Naumoff said.

Dean Fitzpatrick, publishing director at John Brown, came to New York in June at the inception of the project to supervise Space’s launch. John Brown will work with Meigher for at least the first three issues of Space, he said.

The oversized glossy magazine, which sells for $2.95 on newsstands, features lush photography printed on heavy paper stock.

“The quality of the design needs to be up to the level of quality of the products they produce,” Fitzpatrick said. “The magazine has to reflect that.”

Sandwiched between the glamour is a bind-in card with subscription card offers – six issues for $10 – as well as a $10-off coupon on a purchase of $50 or more if the customer subscribes. A blow-in card for a free light bulb that can be redeemed at the retail store by filling out name and address details is another vehicle for the retailer to collect names for the database.

“It’s not about making money on subscriptions for us,” Naumoff said. “It’s more about generating a list and having access to people who have raised their hands and told us they want to talk to us.”

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