In-store push: Wal-Mart's clout gives 'All You' edge

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Time Inc.'s play for the low-cost, checkout-counter women's service magazine All You is launching with a burst of promotional muscle from its exclusive distribution partner, Wal-Mart.

The launch of All You marks the first move by a magazine company that's at all similar to one long made by other consumer marketers: producing a product specifically aimed at Wal-Mart's massive customer base.

The Wal-Mart angle is not lost on marketers. "[Our clients] sell big quantities at Wal-Mart," said Bonnie Barest, exec VP-managing director of Optimedia International, New York. "We think that's a nice synergy for women who understand the sensibility."

Starting late last week, free sample issues of 30 pages were available in the "action alley" near the cash registers, and the debut issue will show up there as well. In addition, Wal-Mart cashiers will sport pink buttons touting the Aug. 13 on-sale date of All You, and spots supporting the title will run on Wal-Mart's in-store TV and radio networks.

ambitious goals

The in-store exposure is great, but the title will need it to achieve its ambitious goals. Publisher Diane Oshin said All You would derive as much as 80% of its circulation from newsstand sales. (Time Inc.'s exclusive distribution with Wal-Mart runs through December 2005, at which point All You will become broadly available through other newsstand channels.)

All You does not get gratis placement on Wal-Mart's magazine racks, nor does Wal-Mart win free or discounted ads, Ms. Oshin said. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the company had no editorial input in the title.

All You is the august Time Inc.'s first move into a low-cost mass-market niche long ceded to Bauer Publications. Bauer's Woman's World and First for Women rarely register on the heat indices of the media-savvy, but they reliably reside among the top-tier of newsstand sellers, with sales dependably topping a million per issue. This launch into a well-traveled, high-volume category-one with a wholly different business model-will be echoed by Time Inc. later this year with the relaunch of Life as a Friday newspaper supplement.

All You will launch with a rate base of 500,000 and will appear at every checkout counter at Wal-Mart as well as at the stores' "main-line" newsstand. An ad page costs $13,470, which Ms. Oshin said was not subject to standard magazine discounting. (At least one media buyer confirmed her contention.) Around 60 ad pages appear in the launch issue's 152 pages.

a different place

All You`s oddball cover price-$1.47-neatly shaves 2ยข off that of Bauer Publications Woman's World (Wal-Mart's standard 10% magazine discount cuts it to $1.32). All You's pitch to price-conscious women and decidedly utilitarian design clearly leave it in a much different place from two of Time Inc.'s more celebrated recent launches aimed at women-the lux In Style and the well-scrubbed minimalism of Real Simple.

The September launch issue resembles a slightly tonier version of Bauer's twin checkout staples. Like those, it shares an emphasis on women-next-door rather than celebrities, and the content is homey and practical rather than what's called in magazine parlance "aspirational." Its color palette is muted-an approach exactly opposite of one espoused by a different brand of supermarket-checkout staples like American Media's The Star and Wenner Media's Us Weekly.

`tip strips'

Its obsession with utility is typified by what Editor Bella Price dubbed "tip strips." These are sidebar how-to articles that checklist, say, a week's worth of grocery shopping for All You's recipes, or depict items one needs to build a shelf, the better to be ripped out and pasted on refrigerators or toted along on shopping trips. Its fashion section is called "Clothes," and stresses inexpensive solutions to work garb, as well as the perhaps unavoidable piece on perfect jeans for a variety of body types. Departments reflect a relentlessly affirming and exhortative tone: "Live Your Dream," and "We Came Through," to name two. The edit mix hits all the bases one expects from mass-market women's magazines-cooking, family, relationships, health, home and fashion.

Reflecting its heartland tilt, focus groups for All You were convened in markets such as Evansville, Ind., and Greenville, S.C. All You will publish four issues this year and 12 next, and Ms. Oshin said the company is considering further frequency boosts.

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