Fashion magazine Marie Claire has signed on to use Ultigo, a print-to-Web alternative, for its March, April and May issues.
Ultigo places a logo on an advertiser's magazine page that alerts readers that they can interact with the product online. An alternative to the print-to-Web products that use scanners, consumers instead just visit Marieclaire.com to learn more about or purchase the products featured on the ad pages.
Once at the site, they click on the Marie Claire Style Navigator powered by Ultigo search box, which takes them to an electronically enhanced version of the magazine page. When they move their cursor across the page, items available for purchase pop up. Consumers also can be directed to up to 20 related products. For example, if they are interested in a skirt, a matching blouse also may be suggested.
Additionally, they can get directions to a retailer's local store or link to a site that has more information about the given products.
Katherine Rizzuto, publisher of Marie Claire, New York, said this new offering will help the magazine stay ahead of its competition in the fashion field.
“It's important to take risks,” she said. “We try to find the most innovative ways to highlight our advertisers in order to stay heads and shoulders above our competitors.”
Ultigo's main competition includes the numerous scanner devices. Digital:Convergence, for example, offers the Cue Cat, which reads UPC symbols as well as barcodes placed in ads or text that send a person's browser to the appropriate Web page. These ads, as well as the devices, are being distributed via publications such as Forbes and Wired.
Another competitor, Digimarc, places watermarks on print ads. A consumer can link to a special Web page if they run the ad in front of a Webcam that has Digimarc software installed on it.
Marie Claire opted not to use the scanner devices because “the added machinery gets everybody all turned off,” said Rizzuto. “We know our [readers] are using computers and they are Internet savvy, but any added machinery slows down the entire process.”
The magazine's readers are women ages 18 to 49 with an average household income of more than $53,000.
This new offering may make the magazine more attractive to advertisers.
“We're telling all of our current advertisers and all of the advertisers that may have been on the fence about us about this program,” Rizzuto said. “It's being sold as a marketing partnership that costs about $5,000 per issue.”
Marie Claire also will run two promotional pages in each issue explaining the program to its readers. Advertisers will receive a mention on these house ads. The magazine has exclusive usage rights in the fashion and beauty category for March, April and May.
Ultigo, New York, also has a deal with Teen Magazine. Readers can log on to www.teenmag.com to learn more about 16 products offered on four pages within the November issue of the magazine.