Turning the Pages


When you reach for a magazine you are looking for a good story, some gossip, even tips on how to eat better, but all you get is page after page of advertising.  

I am going to take you on a trip through a magazine focusing on you – your clothes, skin, hair, etc.  You and I will be looking at the same, (no-name) magazine, since basically, most over the counter magazines are the same.

Let’s start on the cover.  Here we are – purchasing this magazine, hoping one day we will return to our youth with all the special treatments out there.  The cover has four beautiful women showing off their figures and all wearing their hair, long.  It never fails, when I decide to cut my hair I start looking at the models in a magazine and notice, no, it is not in style.  Three of the young women have long natural hair, one is a blonde with waves only at the ends.  No one has bangs.  I heard bangs were in again – but that era must have lasted a few months.  So we turn the page – what is suppose to be a clothing ad is basically showing off the blonde in their cloths but you never look at the clothes, it’s the person, the long hair draping over her shoulders, down her back, and her mouth half opened as she stirs a cocktail.

The next page is full face, front and center, perfect skin, pink lips, white teeth and the bluest of eyes staring at you as if saying, “Wouldn’t you want to be me for a day.”  Like that old TV show, Queen for a day,  and for sure it was an ad for mascara, but this one opens up your eyes.  The next page also has a full face but this one is in black and white, with far too much make up beneath the eyes.  I wonder if one of these pages will still show cover up for dark circles.  This ad was for the ring on the girls finger, but the first thing you see is that ugly make up ¼ inch thick below the bottom lid.

Now we jump to some accessories, but you wouldn’t know it if you didn’t read the name on one side of the page, because on the other side is a woman in a low cut dress, mouth open, eyes slightly closed, hair arranged like she just came in from a wind storm.  The accessories are blending with the colors in the background, giving the girl all the attention.

Remember, I am turning these pages one by one, no skipping, only telling you what the reader is buying for their money.  So far I have seen women, each sexier then the next, or full faces staring at me as if a page can talk.

The next page, another full faced ad but light brown eyes are looking off to the left, and her lower lip is much larger than the upper lip.  Remember when everyone wanted that look, the lower lip larger was the trend, it will be interesting to see how many women in this magazine have this lower lip.  Well the story behind this ad is not the lower lip, or the black nail polish, but her skin.  I think they could have chosen a better model this time around.

We are now in the middle of some exotic place with Lilly pods, wild grass, a mountain in the distance and some light blue water.  Sitting alone on a piece of wood, a model with long dark hair, a lose fitting top and Capri’s, her bare legs show, and she had no shoes. She is staring off into the distance, as is she were lost, but cares less as she clings to the object of the ad, you got it, a bag.    Once again, the model is the object of your vision.  The bag blends into the background.

Finally I turn the page and no girl, no model, no beauty just the jar and two giant words.  I won’t reveal here.  The following page has the same thing, an object, huge, taking up the entire page, in black and white.  It would never have caught my attention.

Notice not one article, nothing about the magazine, only advertisements.

Another product, this time in color with two large words and the product is the model, and more on furniture, same thing – either no words or one large word.

Getting the drift – expensive magazine, the advertisers gimmick, and two articles, one page long. Take note when you are designing your blog or cover on facebook.

Flip – one word, one object. This next flip I thought was no longer allowed – someone carrying a tray of cigarettes with the brands showing.  On the opposite page a model is biting on the top of the product in her hand, it is not something to eat.  Finally a flip with something different, an ad for readers, but the books are all famous people.  On the opposite page are two extremely tanned women with their arms crisscrossing their bare chest and in the background a large wave, their hair drenched, and advertising what is drenching on the bottom half of their body. The next page is identical, the same two models, draped over a black rock and their description not suitable to describe here. Flip – a yellow “backside” facing the camera.

Now how many advertisements have we talked about – well we are now seeing the contents of the magazine, or what looks to be a rundown of more advertisements, and one restaurant and a couple of people well known on the Hollywood walk of fame.

I will make the following pages – brief.  Flip – a woman in lace and thongs, a large object with one word, a single large object that has nothing to do with horse-racing, four objects and the two words, “Find Yourself.”  Flip, one object, name of product, color scheme is well known.  Flip, same object. Flip,   a sensuous blonde, low cut dress, advertising the smallest object on the page.  Another flip brings us to blue water, and a cave, nothing else – could be on the next flip – yes, a flavor of a drink. Next – two faces covered in these enormous sunglasses, flip, one large object and the name isn’t needed.  Finally, we have a man and a woman – first time in this magazine.  Okay if I am boring you with this lesson in advertising, I am sorry, but you have to read just a little more.

Travel – a place, not one picture reveals the destination.  Then this magazine has the audacity to tell us in large print – “Beauty Knows It’s Enemy.” Flip – a product name, well known – no one will read the ad, too common. 

Wow, finally on this flip we have the beginning of a story, and it sounds interesting – it is only one page, not continued. This is followed by Hollywood beauties, more mascara, models and products with one word.     

Flip, cars – but not cheap ones.  Flip, another destination, followed by the movie of the year advertising nail polish.  I had to mention that.  Then, another car, a girl rushing toward the ocean and a destination, followed by another two page spread on faces in Hollywood.  Flips – Nail polish, lipstick, and article #2 on politics. 

Up to this point, you paid money for models, with only two articles to read.

So I am near the end of the magazine – not a cheap one – and to think some of these magazines offer you a free subscription on your reader, can you imagine the advertising space, and how quickly you would be deleting this one from your reader.  The rest of the magazine tells you where to find the products.

What did we learn from this article?  I learned never to write another when it comes to follow me through any magazine without words.  It also showed me these popular magazines are basic advertising and nothing more.  The best part – the cover, I honestly thought everything mentioned on the cover would be covered on the inside; I was wrong.  So beware, take advantage of magazines such as Angie’s – were content is policy, advertisers supply the content, etc.  Online writing is so different.  So the next time you are waiting for hours for some appointment, bring that iphone, reader, or your own choice of reading material. 

  1. Avatar of RMitchell
    RMitchell says

    I agree with you about today’s magazines. Funny, I can’t remember the last time I actually bought one because of the enormous amount of advertising. Just like TV, it’s all about selling products and services instead of giving the buyer genuine, actual content.

    Great article!

  2. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
    Nancy Duci Denofio says

    Your right there was a time when page after age was filled with information but today the ads are not at the back of magazines or every three articles but they are produced for advertisers and selling first the mag followed by product with at times two one or two pages for stories thanks in car trying to hit right keys like teens lol

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