Grazia, Vogue - how they get that special look

Business Solutions magazine was a customer magazine produced to impress the boardrooms of the UK’s biggest companies and get them interested in US computer group Unisys.

Publisher Redwood went for top-drawer writers, photographers and illustrators, and it had another trick up its sleeve: the format it chose aimed to mimic the look and feel of a high quality annual company report, printed on the best paper.

Anyone who opened a fresh copy of Business Solutions would remember it. The paper was smooth, crisp and white – and gave off the aroma of linseed oil.

The magazine went on to win two major awards in 1990, as a business magazine and for its design. It was one of the titles that put Redwood on the map and helped establish custom publishing in the UK.

Fifteen years later that paper was used by Wallpaper founder and global style guru Tyler Brûlé for a magazine published by his Winkreative agency.

Translating Posh into dosh
The power of look and feel was brought to bear by Emap when it launched Grazia. Grazia not only had to make a splash in the world of the glossiest of the glossies, Vogue, but also establish a new publishing model for fashion weeklies in the UK. It had to have great editors, writers, photographers and designers, but it needed that little bit more.

However, as a weekly, Grazia could not bear the cost of a heavyweight, expensive paper, except for the cover. Inside, it went for a paper with a luxurious, silky feel and chose the gravure printing technique, which had lost out to offset litho in the previous 30 years for consumer magazines. This combination made the most of a bold design with vibrant black and yellow inks to complement the glamorous, glitzy writing and photography.

The expensive print and paper distinguishes Grazia from other weeklies. But how does the classy ‘look and feel’ translate into revenue?

Grazia vs Vogue

Grazia is a money spinner, selling 200,000 copies over the counter each week at £1.80 – a retail sales value of £18 million, twice that of Vogue. Circulation is only held back from the top spot by weak subscription marketing.

According to the NRS, Grazia is read by more upmarket women: 80per cent ABC1 readers against 73per cent for Vogue. Grazia, however, can only charge half Vogue’s ad page rate.

Of course, publishing success on the scale of Condé Nast’s Vogue does not come overnight. Despite Grazia’s greater frequency, Vogue has more than double the weekly’s readership at 1,056,000 readers compared with 402,000. However, statistics suggest Grazia’s readers are younger: 77per cent under 45 compared with 73per cent for Vogue.

That suggests Grazia has a lot going for it, if it can hold on to those readers in the longer term.

The UK edition of Vogue was founded in 1914 and it has a real edge when it comes to advertising revenue. Not only is its standard page rate £21,300, about double Grazia’s £10,800, but a typical issue has three times as many pages.

However, Grazia comes with its own heritage because Emap licenses the title from Italian group Mondadori. Grazia was established in 1938 and has the same sort of reputation in its home market as the US-founded Vogue does in the UK, along with the pagination and ad rates that go with it.

Grazia has grown 19per cent since its first NRS and has one of the highest ABC1 profiles in the market. Only Tatler, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar have more.

One fact that comes out on the sheet is that Grazia’s cost per thousand readers (CPT) is £30 to Vogue’s £26, so it could be argued that Grazia is better value for money for advertisers.

Many people claim to read Vogue – it’s a more famous title in the UK – and it’s often to be seen in waiting rooms and on other people’s tables. So readership figures can be exaggerated. However, arguments between ad sales people and media buyers about circulation, readership and cost per thousand can be endless. For example, Vogue is one of the most collected titles – people tend to keep issues for months if not years – and it is more likely to be passed or sold on than Grazia which, as a weekly, is a more disposable read.

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