August 21, 2011

BestLife Magazine

Search For The Best Life.

BestLife magazine, published by Rodale, asked BG&A to beat its control direct mail package, a successful and longstanding mailer. The nature of this control package is a client secret. However, the package is eye-catching and effective in conveying many attributes of the magazine within an easy-to-read format.

BestLife was conceived as a magazine targeting middle-aged men who once were either Men’s Health subscribers or might have been. BestLife is a brand extension of Men’s Health designed to take advantage of a continuing, life-long relationship between the publisher/magazine and its male subscribers. The magazine also aims to bring in new Boomer subscribers at newsstands or via direct marketing who don’t see themselves in youth-focused men’s magazines dedicated to beer and babes.

We developed mini-posters to appeal to men on multiple levels, with an intention that some of these inspirational posters could be keepers. Wrapped in a cellophane sleeve, here’s what the male recipient or his significant other sees in a stack of mail.

On the flip side he sees the face of one of eight mini-posters:

When he opens the package he can read the opposite side of the Wisdom poster:

And a creative pattern emerges: side two of each poster contains three units: positioning copy, which Brent Green wrote, the offer of a free gift (8 total), and an interactive experience such as “Your Annual Review,” drawn from the magazine’s editorial. Each poster stands alone and enables a prospective subscriber a convenient pathway to subscribing. Here is another mini-poster from the package:

So, for example, a man might keep a poster about “Engagement” because he is moved by the dynamic sailing photograph and a liberating quotation from Somerset Maugham. Each poster continues to explore a subject area in greater depth on the reverse side and includes useful information, a subscription incentive, and order options; thus, each poster has a standalone capability.  We also intended that the composite of all posters would genuinely and perceptively reflect the magazine’s soul and spirit.  Here are a few more examples of our mini-posters.

We spent many hours researching each photograph to find exactly the right nuance. Not showing faces was a deliberate decision.  Anonymity of men in the photos makes it easier for each reader to project himself into one, a few, or maybe all the keystone motivations and challenges confronting middle-aged / Boomer men. Not revealing faces makes these posters more likely to be kept and displayed. Finally, we connected with our prospective subscriber with a very oversized letter, written to speak with Baby Boomer men:

We tapped into what Boomer men are thinking about at this stage in their lives by answering fundamental psycho-social questions. What do they want now, different from when they were younger? Where is their pain? What is churning inside men, motivating them to change, to discover new insights, to develop new paradigms, to acquire more experiences/products, and to live larger?

This mailing program successfully challenged the control package.  Further, our strategic and creative process of developing this program helped Rodale and its marketing / editorial team gain new  insights into the hearts and souls of their prospective readers.  A functional direct marketing program also provided value-added insights and possibilities about how to continue evolving the magazine, empowering the publisher to follow these men through the transformations of psychological growth and aging.

Boomer men represent a profitable, underdeveloped niche for publishing, luxury products, travel, education, healthcare, automobiles and high-technology. To find out more about the psychology and sociology underpinning this extraordinary segment opportunity, order your copy of Brent Green’s marketing book, Generation Reinvention.