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Now You See It, Now You Don’t: National Geographic Traveler and the Vanishing Yellow Border

August 4, 2014

National3-82National2-81National-80 National Geographic Traveler, the number one selling travel magazine on the nation’s stands, wants to do even better… Enter the newest “test.” No, it is not the image, or the type, or even the price. National Geographic Traveler is testing the famous eternal trade-marked yellow border.

Three different covers are currently on the newsstands: one with a full yellow border, one with a fading yellow border (the norm for the last two years or so) and one with no yellow border.

Which one do you think will give NGT a sales lift on the newsstands? Let me know what you think, but first read what Keith Bellows, NGT, VP and Editor in Chief told me about this test:

“You really can’t assume that what worked on the newsstand a few years ago still does. We ‘re doing well– but can we do better? There are supposedly ‘rules’ for what does well on newsstands but rules don ‘t sell magazines. We are now testing every approach to see if we can get 5 percent smarter–and do 5 percent better. After 30 years of building covers for newsstand, I’ve learned four things–channel your readership and what you know them to want; trust your gut; factor in all the ‘science’ your circulation folks live by; and know that nothing is certain–particularly that you win or fail partly because of what your competition does…from color and lines to subject and approach. We have an iconic brand and are trying to figure out how best to leverage it.”

© Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, 2014.
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2 comments

  1. The yellow border is iconic, and for the demographic that spends time in the magazine aisle, the yellow border, full or partial, represents a brand known for authoritative, trustworthy editorial. My guess is the cover without a border will underperform.


  2. Just as the NG is the only magazine to have always had a yellow border, so has the magazine always been unlike any other. NG without the yellow? Not a chance.



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