Elle deputy editor admits to nerves around its mirror cover treatment for latest edition

0008739_elle-australia_220Bauer Media’s fashion magazine Elle has ditched the typical celebrity cover for a mirrored treatment that allows the reader to see themselves as the cover model to complement the magazine’s feature celebrating the diversity of women.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Elle deputy editor Damien Woolnough admitted the magazine did have some nerves around the cover treatment, and consulted with outside cover advertiser Chanel before committing to it.

“You don’t also want to be tokenistic in any way and we’ve had quite a diverse selection of covers in our time on stands,” he said when asked why they didn’t use a range of diverse women on the cover instead.

“We’ve had an indigenous cover person with Jessica Mauboy, we’ve had diversity of shapes and ages and ethnicity with [fashion blogger and influencer] Nicole Warne and backgrounds.

“We feel the Elle covers are always quite diverse but I’m not going to pretend there weren’t nerves,” he added.

220px-Time_youcover01It is not the first time a magazine has done a cover like this, with Time Magazine chosing “You” as its 2006 person of the year. The cover of the magazine featured an iMac computer monitor with a reflective pane appearing as the window of a YouTube-like video player.

The magazine’s We are Women feature showcases 47 women and girls aged from one-month through to one-century and features the likes of Lisa Wilkinson, Julie Bishop, Margaret Pomeranz and Chrissie Swan. Readers can also contribute to the ‘We Are Women’ gallery by submitting their own headshot online.

Woolnough said the magazine was confident it has already made itself “represent diversity with our past cover selections” but the nerves were still there and saw the magazine work closely with its advertisers to “make sure they were on board with what we were doing”.


“In particular we consulted with Chanel who occupy the outside cover of this issue to make sure they feel comfortable with what we’re doing. We’ve had incredible support,” he said.

Woolnough said the cover was “the best way of reflecting the diversity of Australian women”.

“Of course as publishers we are all looking for new ways of engagement and we thought this was an innovative way of engaging our audience and because of the feature, which we think is quite important, it came off as a meaningful engagement rather than just a gimmick,” he said.

Woolnough said the magazine was confident it has already made itself “represent diversity with our past cover selections”.

In terms of the risk of turning off potential buyers by the lack of a well-known face, Woolnough was hopeful buyers would “see something different amongst the sea of Jennifer Aniston’s and Blake Lively’s and that hopefully that will be enough to catch their attention.”

“It’s also a matter of timing, this has come off the back of a very traditional cover with Jen Hawkins in September, which performed exceptionally well for us, so that gave us a bit of permission to experiment as well,” he added.

Woolnough said in light of print magazines posting circulation declines, with Elle magazine seeing its circulation dip by 0.30 per cent according to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, it is important to be innovative.

“It’s incredibly important to look at new ways of engagement across all our media, a lot of people have been focusing on how they do that digitally and through social media,” he said.

“Print is at the heart of Elle and we wanted to do something innovative with print on this occasion and it’s great that people have noticed.”

Miranda Ward

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How to Build a Periscope Audience for Your Business


Are you marketing on Periscope? Want to reach more people? You can develop a following on Periscope by promoting your broadcasts, engaging with viewers and repurposing your content on other channels. In this article you’ll discover how to build a Periscope audience for your business. #1: Cross-Promote Broadcasts While content is ultimately king, think about how you can attract […]


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Chemist Warehouse pull ‘Smell like a sir’ ad after ruling against pipe-smoking character

The ad watchdog has upheld a complaint made against the ‘Smell like a Sir’ Father’s Day campaign from Chemist Warehouse, forcing the discount chain to pull all advertising that featured a man holding a pipe.

The Ad Standards Bureau (ASB) received a complaint about the advertisement of tobacco smoking on TV, as well as a child being used in the promotion, which prompted the inquiry.

A man is seen dressed as a character from British yesteryear, complete with moustache, bow tie, monocle and pipe. He is accompanied by a child who wears similar attire, however without the pipe.

Chemist Warehouse at first dismissed the claims, arguing the complaint “so fatuous and unfounded” they took no action to respond to the ASB.

After repeated attempts to get a response, the company hit back, arguing that the character presented is a stereotypical representation of a British ‘sir’ and is humorous, not aspirational or desirable. The company stated: “The character displayed is more Charlie Chaplin than Charlie Sheen.”

“The entire advertisement is a light hearted satirical look at those clichéd representations of British nobility. No reasonable viewing of this advertisement by any reasonable reader would result in them concluding that we were in any way endeavouring to promote pipe smoking as a desirable and sophisticated habit. On the contrary having the pipe appear in his parody of nobility somewhat diminishes any perceived sophistication of the habit.”

The Board considered the characterisation and found the ad sent a message to the audience glamorising smoking as a sophisticated activity. They also noted that while the pipe was a prop, using smoking paraphernalia next to a child should not be encouraged.

As a result, the Board upheld the complaint and forced Chemist Warehouse to remove all advertising reflecting the ‘Smell like a sir’ message.

In response to the findings, Chemist Warehouse said: “We thank the Board for its determination and confirm that in light of your findings we will no longer be using the offending advertising material. It has been withdrawn.”

Danielle Sen

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Don’t become the next Ashley Madison, firms are warned amid ongoing CMO, CIO unease

Dane-234x127The data breach crisis engulfing extramarital affairs website Ashley Madison is a stark lesson in the failure of a chief marketing officer and chief information officer to communicate, a conference in Singapore has heard.

Senior Forrester Research executive, Dane Anderson, said too many CMOs and CIOs still have contrasting objectives when they should be working hand in hand.

Mumbrella Asia reports Anderson also warned the failure to collaborate risks undermining businesses as they strive to become more digitally astute.

Anderson cited Ashley Madison as having “slick marketing” but said the apparent absence of communication between the CMO and CIO ultimately led to the security breach which saw the site hacked and the details of 37m customers stolen.

“There was a focus on marketing, and they had slick marketing….but they have not maintained the privacy and security of customers and it is likely to sink them,” he told delegates. “It is an example of when the two sides don’t talk and an example of when marketing and strategy is not enough.”

Anderson said research has found 50 per cent of CMOs and CIOs still follow separate agendas, when they should be bringing their respective skills to developing what he descrbed as a “business technology strategy”.

“Unfortunately, for many organisations this relationship is strained,” he said.

Anderson described the CMO as the “brand champion” who should bring their customer expertise and knowledge to the table, while the CIO should bring their skills in generating growth and profit and their deep understanding of technology and data.

He told the conference that investment in technology should shift from internal IT systems to “business technology that will help the CMO and CIO succeed in the age of the customer”.

A business technology agenda was about “systems, processes and technology which help win, serve and retain the customer”, he said.

But Anderson, Forrester’s president, research director and regional manager, said too few firms have a digital business strategy – even though they think they do.

Neither do firms truly understand the customer, he said.

“Time and time again, with the research that we do, we’re finding companies are letting themselves off the hook too quickly,” he said.

To read the full piece please click through to Mumbrella Asia.

Steve Jones


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