This week in branded content

This week sees a royal launch, new customer publishing agency hires, a new study finds that 52% of iPad users read a magazine or newspaper on their device every day, the importance of hyper-local content and the top 100 social brands.

With the Royal Wedding only one month away, Illustrated London News has announced it will be publishing a souvenir editionbookazine' The Illustrated Royal Wedding, together with Haymarket Media Group. The royal memorabilia will hit newsstands on 2 April, RRP £5.99, and will draw on rare archive material from The Illustrated London News as well as sister titles in its archive, setting the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in the context of its heritage. With a print run of 46,000 the pictorially bookazine will be sold through WHSmith, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Tesco, The Royal Collection shops as well as other selected newsstands in key overseas markets.

Publicis Blueprint has strengthened its fashion and homeware account, Cath Kidston, with the appointment of Jo Cotton; the customer publishing agency recently picked up the accolade ‘Best Catalogue 2010' for the brand. Joining from creative agency, Proximity Cotton, Cotton previously worked on the integrated Volkswagen account, delivering a range of new on- and offline customer relationship marketing campaigns.

While celebrities are dressing up and dancing for Sport and Comic Relief, Business Life, the customer magazine for British Airways business travellers, is giving its cover away to charity. For a chance to appear on its August cover, readers must visit, pay an entry fee of £10 and explain in 80 words or less why they deserve to appear on the cover. The competition is in aid of Flying Start, the charity partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief UK.

With this year's film awards season being over, there has been a couple of wins in the customer publishing world: White Light Media took the IoIC Scotland awards by storm, winning five categories, plus the overall Gold Prize for the outstanding project of the year. That went to Life, the online magazine for Lloyds Banking Group; RLC Senior Designer Fiona Sweeney won Designer of the Year at the IoIC Awards, with Redhouse Lane also picking up three overall category awards.

Wyndeham Pre-Press, the company behind the award-winning emagine on-line publishing system, has announced a partnership with Yudu Media for cross-platform publishing. Under the partnership the Yudu digital publishing platform will be fully integrated within emagine, enabling magazine or catalogue pages to be produced for print, e-magazine, i-Pad, i-Phone apps and other mobile platforms simultaneously, via a seamless production workflow.

Speaking of online publishing, a new report by YouGov, TabletTrack, has found that 52% of iPad users read a magazine or newspaper on their device every day. As reported on Brandrepublic, the study provides an in-depth picture of what it is that prompts UK consumers to purchase iPads, Kindles and e-readers and how they consumer content on these devices. The study also shows that the iPad is unsurprisingly most popular among the young, with a bias towards men with almost 2/3 (64%) of Apple iPads currently ending up in male hands.

In other publishing news, Brandrepublic's Nicola Clark has taken a look at if Sky's shift from print to online is a sign of things to come in customer publishing. Speaking to Clark, APA chief operating officer, Julia Hutchinson, noted that Sky's magazines are something of an anomaly in the industry because they are produced in-house and all three titles have a huge combined circulation. 'When you look at Sky's customer base, the only thing that unites them is a Sky Box or a satellite dish on their house.' By contrast, customer magazines from retailers such as Waitrose or Sainsbury's have more-defined target groups of consumers and readers. Can the same level of engagement be made with customers via email as in printed magazines? Read the complete article here.

While the debate of online vs. print continues, one of the UK's longest running luxury magazines, Lusso Magazine, has claimed it is to be one of the first publishers to integrate PayPal's micropayments gateway into its website. Full-length magazine features - to date only available to readers of the print edition - are now available via Lusso's website for a small price.

Also online, Tropicana, the juice brand, has partnered with the Guardian website to create a co-branded section on the site dedicated solely to "good news" found on the newspapers website. The positive content will also be featured on PepsiCo-owned Tropicana's website, and will be live for one year.

Wallblog reported on the Social Brands 100 Table which has ranked the top 100 social media brands. The survey, which ranked brands based on their ability to engage with connected communities, has found that 99% of the brands in its ranking are active on Twitter, making it the most popular online outpost for social brands. It also found that geo-location platforms are not yet integrated into the social mix with only 22% of the ranked brands using the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla. Dell, Nike Plus and Starbucks top the table.

In a feature for Brandrepublic, Daniel Bischoff, research director at MediaCom Germany, noted that with the overwhelming volume of information and services brands can become relevant again by relating their messages to precise locality. As people are blogging about their neighbourhood and media companies such as AOL investing in user-generated local news networks, helical content is the answer writes Bischoff - a trend he believes will really take off via mobile. To find out more how brands can leverage the consumer need for hyper-locality click here.

When it comes to social engagement and social commerce, we have seen that Facebook is starting to become more of a transactional platform for brands to sell products on. Last week ketchup producer Heinz made a limited edition balsamic vinegar tomato ketchup available to buy for its Facebook fans before a wider public release. This week sees film giant Warner Bros announced it will allow people to rent films via Facebook (currently only in the US), making the social network a real competitor to video sites like Hulu and iTunes. This move also puts the spotlight on Facebook Credits which has up until now mainly been used for social games; this is an important step for the virtual currency that is said to be the way forward for brands wishing to exploit social commerce.

Posted in Industry News
11thMar 2011

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