We've done very little promotion for CA over the years. Our policy has always been to put our money into the production of the magazine itself. Fortunately, that worked and our paid circulation grew very rapidly to a commanding lead. In the mid-’80s, circulation peaked at about 55,000, and we decided to launch a limited ad campaign to see if we could increase our circulation further. We didn’t want heavy-handed slogans and claims, but something that was fun while it reminded potential readers to subscribe.
In 1987, we contacted Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein in San Francisco, who conducted research, including several focus groups. They found many positive things: CA is the magazine where everyone would most like to have their work shown; CA also has a high “pass-along” readership that reads it regularly, but doesn't subscribe.
After contacting several respected creative professionals, the agency discovered that more than a few used some very inventive methods for preventing unintended “borrowing” of their issues. A strategy was born.
The ads were written by David Fowler, art directed by Rich Silverstein and the portraits were shot by Marc Hauser. Two ads, not shown here, featured Roger Black, then art director of Trips magazine in San Francisco, who asked, “Why doesn't anybody steal the magazines I design?” and McRay Magleby, then art director of BYU Graphics in Provo, Utah, who stated, “For some reason, people do not steal CA here.”
In the end, we received only a small increase in new subscriptions, but a significant boost in renewals. Once again proving the difficulty of predicting the results of any promotion.
We’re grateful to the wonderful people in our industry who agreed to be in these ads, and hope they don’t mind seeing themselves again, 22 years later. ca