Holy Facemask, Batman, I Matter

We all love a sidekick. They are dependable, unfailingly optimistic, committed to the cause and eminently trustworthy. So when Mark Ritson spoke at Magnetic’s Spark conference and described magazines as being Robin to other media’s Batman, it struck a chord.

“This got Magnetic and I thinking,” writes Jon Restall in Mediatel. “We analyzed the characteristics of sidekicks and studied the research evidence behind magazines to see if the theory stacks up. It does – and some of the positive assets of a sidekick are arguably even more valuable during this uncertain and unusual time.”

He breaks down several traits of a good sidekick:

  • Like Robin and all good sidekicks, magazines are generally positive. While the current situation makes it more challenging, consumers still see the magazine experience – both editorial and advertising content – as time well spent.
  • Magazines are created by teams of passionate and committed people who care about the content as much as their readers do.
  • The magazine experience takes place in a trusted environment – so important when trust in our news and social media content is falling.
  • Magazines command attention. “People read magazines because they are relevant to their lives or passions. These readers welcome advertising, with 82% disagreeing with the statement “if this media didn’t have any advertising, it would be a lot better,” Restall notes.
  • Sidekicks work hard, “and while their efforts can be overshadowed by the superhero, it’s worth looking closely to see their value,” he continues. We see this in the trust bump of printed magazines, helping to elevate cross channel brand factors.

Magazines do make good sidekicks for a brand’s other media channels … yet they can be superheroes in their own right, Restall reminds us. Just look at Bauer Media’s Grazia magazine and the phenomenally successful issue dedicated to UK’s NHS workers.

Sidekick or superhero, the role of magazine media has been powerful in this pandemic. Readers forced to stay home are indulging in subscriptions to lifestyle titles, while other titles offer in-depth and non-sensationalized coverage we so desperately need.

“One thing that is for certain is that when we leave this crisis, many companies will adopt new ways of working and communicating with consumers,” Restall concludes. “Hopefully magazine brands can be a growing and important part of this new world, whether as superhero or sidekick.”