In this essay, I will discuss the importance that magazine covers have for targeting their niche audience. There are many different forms of advertising, and it’s everywhere! It persuades us to buy the product they are selling. One type of advert is the cover of a magazine. Whether it’s the copy, the character, or the graphics, all of the components play a part in selling the magazine and the other products featured in or on it. Magazines split audiences into different groups. These groups range from toddlers to the elderly, and also from males to females.
These groups are called the target audience. The ‘Target Audience’ is an identifiable group of people that could benefit from purchasing your product. You can define your target audience(s) according to some combination of behaviour, demographics, psychology, and/or social influences. You are likely to have several potential target audiences; focusing on those you can most profitably help. The magazine cover is the most important way of letting the consumer know whether or not the magazine will be of suitable interest to them.
In other words, the cover will let the consumer know whether he or she is part of the target audience. The magazine cover needs to stand out from the rest in order to do this, as it also has a main purpose of attracting the target audience. The use of representations is very important on magazine covers. Magazines use the correct stereotypes and denotations in order to make the representations appeal to the Target Audience. In addition, due to the fact that there are so many different niche audiences, there are many different magazine genres such as consumer magazines, lifestyle magazines, and trade magazines.
This means that there is at least one magazine genre that anyone, from any niche audience, would have a magazine which would be of suitable interest to them. Moreover, the presentation features for any magazine is what determines whether or not, it will be successful in being sold to many of the target audience. For example, beauty and fashion magazines like Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan have mastered this. Stop and look at the cover of any one of their magazines and you’ll quickly notice that the ‘central image’ of the women featured on the cover, are strongest when they make eye contact with the reader.
Whenever possible, they retouch the whites of the eyes to enhance the illusion. This is appropriate as this would appeal to the target audience of the magazine who are usually middle aged women from the egoist psychographic group. A strong cover image will have a poster-like appearance. It should be bold and singular and of the highest quality. Above all, the cover image should provide a clear sense of identity. Imagine the cover with the type and logo stripped away. Would consumers be able to tell from the image alone what your publication is about?
An image can be enhanced by a supporting copy, but shouldn’t have to rely on it. The fact that the copy surrounds the central image represents the image as being the focus of the page. Furthermore, institutes think about what most of the connotations on the front cover may be. This helps them to have some idea of how a potential customer may think of it. Connotations are the surrounding emotional feelings associated with a feature. A main presentation feature is the use of colour. Colour is a way to create mood and mood sells. Institutes study colours carefully to make sure that they’re setting the right mood.
For example “Time magazines” black border on it’s “9/11 special issue” cover, was subtle but it delivered a dramatic statement. This is because of the associations we make with the colour black such as danger, evil, and destruction. Colours often send messages. These messages are referred to as connotations. Connotations are the surrounding emotional feelings associated with a feature. For example, the colour red connotes hot or spicy; blue connotes clean or fresh; green connotes gardening or finance. Institutes avoid colours which would send the wrong message, or connotations for the magazine.
They are mindful that some suggest gender, while others are professional rather than playful (primary colours). Moreover, another presentation feature is the use of stereotypes. A stereotype is an over-simplified, generalised or exaggerated representation of a person or group. Some may be untrue or only partly true. An example would be to say that ‘all boys like playing football’. This is a stereotypical comment because it is not completely true that ‘all boys’ do ‘like playing football’ because it is not a fact, but it is still an idea which most of us, without thinking, would automatically think is true each time.
This is why so many football magazines, such as “match magazine”, are targeted at males. The institute which produces “match magazine” makes decisions which are hugely affected by dominant ideology. With this in mind, they use the correct presentation features on the front cover, which would interest males. This includes the use of the colours blue and green. This is because they are considered as “colours for males”. This is also an example of how “ideology” may have an inclusion on the covers of magazines.
The colour blue connotes fun and enjoyment whereas the colour green connotes competition and recognition. These associations of the 2 colours would be made by the males, as they would interest them and therefore causing them to have some interest on the magazine cover. A central image of a football star would also do so well in attracting the audience. The footballer would be too familiar to them and therefore cause them to be interested in the magazine. For example, on the cover of “Match magazine” there is an image of a famous football star called “Lionel Messi”.
Being a role model for many young boys, his appearance including his famous football kit, of the Argentinean national football team, is what will interest the audience. He is staring straight forward as if he is looking at the consumer. By doing so the teenage audience may feel like they can connect with him through the use of this magazine. The magazine cover, my production group created, is from the games genre of magazines. Game magazines stereotypically have representations of computer game consoles, such as PSP’s, and Xbox’s, being the best form of entertainment and having fun.
These are their most common representations because they are some of the conventions of this genre of magazine. Moving on, we had to know and understand who the stereotypical reader of this genre of magazine would be. The stereotypical reader of our genre of magazine would be teenagers because they are the ones who play game consoles the most. Being specific, the kind of stereotypical reader would be male Teenagers; this is because there is a stereotype which is that Female teenagers don’t really play on Game Consoles as much as men do.
Therefore, male teenagers are the target audience which our magazine cover is targeting. In addition, to give my audience what they would be expecting to read, I have followed the conventions and used the stereotypes expected on the front cover to get them to be prepared for what they would be about to read in the magazine. The copy on the cover of our magazine briefly explains to the audience what’s included in the issue. It also informs of the main topics they would find in the magazine.
One stereotype that I have used on my magazine cover is that ‘male teenagers would be interested in reading this magazine’ as I have used colours such as green on the front cover, as ‘the colour green is popular to male teenagers. This is because of the associations they would make with the colour green such as competition which is one thing that male teenagers like. Colour has also been used to clearly separate typographic components: The logo is coloured in green, whilst the remainder of the copy is in black with some in white; the lead sell line is green as the background colour is white.
Other colours, such as blue, have been used to unite secondary coverlines, while matching the typography colour to a colour found within the central image, which is green, which helps to unite the overall design. The central image of our magazine is of an artistically designed “afro man”. This represents the art and design which some institutes produce for their computer games and products. These are the representations being made on the front cover as they would (stereotypically) surely appeal to male teenagers, the niche audience.