What’s in a name? A brand, a magazine, or a taboo…August 21, 2009
Meredith Corp., publisher of Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal and Family Circle among other magazines, reintroduced itself to the media world last week via an ad campaign in the trade press by stating that “Today’s Meredith is designed for today’s media, combining all the channels with the marketing expertise you need to connect with consumers at the speed of life.”
What caught my attention is that the word magazine appeared only once in the new vocabulary of the company’s ad campaign. Magazines, as we knew them, are now referred to as “national media brands.” One of those “national media brands” is Ladies’ Home Journal. Well, I guess the magazine is also attempting to reintroduce itself. The September issue of the magazine is testing what seems to be a new name, or a new brand, or dare I say a new “national media brand.” LHJ, in bold blue color, replaces the Ladies’ Home Journal name on the cover. The test issue also reverses all the color from the regular issue. What’s blue in Ladies’ Home Journal is brown in LHJ and vice versa.
Now, the folks working at Ladies’ Home Journal may fondly refer to the magazine as LHJ, but do they really think the readers outside the magazine’s offices refer to the magazine as LHJ? If we are truly in the process of reinventing ourselves and reintroducing ourselves, should we make it easier for the readers to find our brand or should we make it harder? I hope that this test is not a sign of what “reintroducing Meredith” is going to be. Ladies’ Home Journal is a much bigger brand in the women’s magazine field to be reintroduced as LHJ… and so are the remaining magazines published by Meredith.
I hope that the word “magazine” is not going to be a “taboo” in the vocabulary of the “Reintroduced Meredith” and the same is true for Ladies’ Home Journal. There is a big difference between a “brand experience” and a “magazine experience.” Please do keep the “magazine experience” well and alive and the “brand experience” will follow.