Madonna on Madonna, by Madonna

hbz november 2013 madonna reem acra 2 de 150x150 Madonna on Madonna, by Madonna

THE PR VERDICT: “B” (Good Show) to Harper’s Bazaar and Madonna.

When you’re one of the most famous celebrities in the world, and have been for decades, what can there be left to say? This may have been the conundrum facing the American edition of Harper’s Bazaar once they got Madonna for their November cover.

The answer? Truth or dare: a game that has been around for ages and also the name of the 1991 documentary about Madonna. Anyone who has worked in the magazine industry can only imagine the staff fervently trying to come up with a fresh angle for the story. Truth or dare… Madonna has done many daring things in her life, hasn’t she? Let’s run with that.

And who better to examine a life lived daringly than the daredevil herself? “Madonna’s Back” reads as though Her Madgesty really wrote it; it’s not that smooth, more like a stream of consciousness. A simple idea but one that achieves the near impossible: a fresh take on a subject the world knows all too well.

THE PR VERDICT: “B” (Good Show) to Harper’s Bazaar and Madonna.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Complex situations often benefit from simple solutions. Mark Twain once said, “When in doubt, tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.” Having Madonna talk about the daring art of being Madonna was a fresh take on what otherwise might have been an article that has been written before. In this age of the ghostwriter, one never knows who really wrote the story, but a look at the self-revelatory writing shows that for Madonna and her readers, this was a fresh take on a subject that has otherwise been well worn.

To read the article, click here.

Taylor Not a Swift Seller for Magazines

 Taylor Not a Swift Seller for Magazines

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift is one of the biggest pop sensations ever, so that should translate to huge sales for the magazines that put her on their covers, right? The swift answer: no. Or, in the parlance of Swift’s teenaged fans: Like, totally nuh-uh.

Swift released a new album, Red, last fall and magazine bookers were working overtime. Swift, who is 23, has a fan base in their teens, but that didn’t mean she’d only rate the cover of Teen Vogue. No, her bookings included Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, and Elle, all in the space of one year, while her cover for Vanity Fair – whose demographic generally skews older than the parents of Swift’s fans – is out this month.

Swift Glamour1 150x150 Taylor Not a Swift Seller for MagazinesSo how did this multi-platinum selling artist perform for magazine sales? She sold reasonably well for Glamour (at left), okay for Vogue (above) and Bazaar, and, perhaps most surprisingly, made a terrible showing for Cosmo: the worst-selling cover for 2012 (below). Possible explanation? Swift is mightily overexposed in all media. It’s a knee-jerk reaction for PRs to book as many covers as possible.

 

 Taylor Not a Swift Seller for Magazines

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Taylor Swift’s PR machine. Mainstream covers are good for both star and publication…except when the mag numbers turn out to be poor.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: The all-you-can-eat buffet does have its price. It’s great to have a star that every magazine wants on its cover, but should PRs say yes to every offer? While Swift’s PRs presumably enjoyed credit for booking “mainstream” covers, they now have to contend with the negative press that comes with the revelations that she was a worst-seller. Plum bookings in the future may be harder to come by. Next time, all parties should consider a celebrity’s fan base, and act accordingly – or face Swift retribution.