Time Inc is running ads for Verizon Wireless on the cover of two of its biggest titles, Time and Sports Illustrated, reports Ad Age.
The ads are small, but according to Ad Age, they break longstanding industry taboos that traditionally kept ads off magazine covers. They will run this week and next.
The report goes on to say that the industry’s major players have until now almost entirely resisted pressure to sell cover ads, despite a strong need for new revenue in recent years: “That’s partly because ads on covers violate widely-observed guidelines from the American Society of Magazine Editors, but also because most editors believed in those guidelines, which are meant to emphasize and protect editorial independence from marketers. The Time and Sports Illustrated cover ads, which are likely to both arouse consternation and encourage others to follow, come two weeks before Time Inc begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange as a public company, spun off from Time Warner to fend for itself.”
Subscribers may notice a Verizon logo in the mailing label area, next to the words “For Best Results Use Verizon” and a page number for a traditional ad. Newsstand copies will print the ad by the barcode. But Ad Age reports that Time Inc has pitched media buyers on ads that would run across the bottom of its magazines’ covers, according to people who have seen mockups.
Go to Ad Age for the full report including comment from Time Inc’s chief content officer, Norman Pearlstine, the advertiser Verizon and industry insiders.