For this project I chose three different magazines: Vogue (APR 2009), The Oprah Magazine (Mar 2020) and Ebony ( July/August 2009). The readership of these three magazines may overlap in some ways, but in many ways their target audience would attract different types of companies to promote their brands.

Ebony Magazine (2) Ads

Wikipedia describe Ebony magazine as such: Ebony magazine was founded in 1945 by John H. Johnson, who sought to address African–American issues, personalities and interests in a positive and self-affirming manner.[6] Its cover photography typically showcases prominent African American public figures, including entertainers and politicians, such as Dorothy DandridgeLena HorneDiana RossMichael Jackson, former U.S. SenatorCarol Moseley Braun of Illinois, U.S. First lady Michelle ObamaBeyoncé KnowlesTyrese Gibson, and Tyler Perry. Each year, Ebony selects the “100 Most Influential Blacks in America”.

The cover of the July/August 2009 magazine shows Tina Turner. Tina Turner is known for her iconic career and ability to visually defy age.

Ad #1 – Ambi (The Color of Flawless Skin)

Flawless skin is the new black.

This ad, like many ads in the last few decades, have depicted African American women as beautiful. A reminder not to the general public, but a reminder to themselves. Media doesn’t show a variety of black women. Ambi is reminding readers that all black is beautiful and flawless.

Objective: Sell product
Target Market: Black Women, Men that date black women, Mothers
Call to Action: Give yourself flawless skin with Ambi
Value Proposition: Black is Beautiful. Not a concept or message that is found frequently or enough. This company is evoking the reader to feel flawless and beautiful in their black skin.

Ad #2 – Coffee Mate (Give Your Joe Some Soul)

Everyone drinks coffee. Some people enjoy it with a creamer, a coffee mate.

This Coffee Mate ad would look a lot different in a magazine that wasn’t meant for black people. In this ad because it is in a black magazine, they are using an image of a black woman that has soul in her hair, earrings and in her eyes (the eyes are the portal to the soul).

Objective: Sell product
Target Market: Anyone, but in this case black men and women
Call to Action: Add some soul to your coffee
Value Proposition: Soul = flavor.

The Oprah Magazine (2) Ads

Since 2000, the magazine has been carrying on the mission that Oprah began with The Oprah Winfrey Show: To inspire women to live their best lives. Her readers come from all walks of live and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Ad #1 – L’oreal (Age Perfect)

This is adjacent to the lovely Brooke Shield with the headline “Own Your Age”. No pun intended right OWN your age. Brooke Shields is an actress of the 80s that is aging “perfectly”. It is no coincidence that the ad was placed next to her feature.

The ad depicts two middle aged models (Viola Davis and Helen Mirren) that are happy. While they are different in appearance, they have many things in common. L’Oreal is a brand for all women. They are advertising their foundation at two different shades (wording tells us that there are 30 shades available), much like their models.

Objective: Sell product
Target Market: All Women (Mainly middle age)
Call to Action: Defy Age
Value Proposition: Confidence. Aging can be difficult. You have new skin – wrinkles, bags, spots – but this foundation not only gives you a public appearance, it is evens your tones with a hydrating serum. It takes care of your skin.

Ad #2 – Cherish The Day (OWN Network Anthology Series)

Being the mogul that Oprah is, it only makes sense that she would advertise a series on her network (OWN) in her magazine. At first glance, it is a little difficult to tell what the show is about.

The suspense of the ad makes me want to find the series and see what it was about. And while I am on the network, I might as well check out the other shows there, as well.

Objective: Expand Viewership
Target Market: Hopeless Romantics
Call to Action: Watch OWN
Value Proposition: Love. The title “Cherish the Day” along with two adults embracing makes the reader associate this series with a love story on the horizon.

Vogue Magazine (1) Ad

Vogue is an American monthly fashion and lifestyle magazine covering many topics including fashion, beauty, culture, living, and runway based in New York City. Vogue began as a weekly newspaper, first published based in New York City in 1892 in the United States, before becoming a monthly publication years later.

Vogue now has a market in over 20 countries.

PRINT READERSHIP – 24.6M (Monthly Readers)
DIGITAL – 94.1M (Unique Users)
SOCIAL – 118.7M (Followers)

Payless (Dexter Sandle – $24.99)

I do not frequent Vogue magazine, so I was very surprised to see a pay less ad in such a prestigious magazine about fashion. This ad is showing us that Payless can be a part of your special, elegant moments (not sure how your feet will feel at the end of the night).

In all seriousness, it make sense that Payless would advertise in Vogue magazine because their readers come from a variety of backgrounds. Vogue is for the reader that loves to look good. She may mix and match an expensive dress with a reasonably priced pair of shoes or vice versa.

Objective: Buy product
Target Market: Women
Call to Action: “Payless” for your shoes
Value Proposition: Elegance. Payless is known for creating shows that look like other brands, but cost much less.

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  1. As I am not a magazine reader, this assignment has been eye opening for me to know that print media is still alive and well. The advertising you selected is good and I think I like the Payless one the most. It is smart of them to put their lower priced, yet fancy looking shoes in a Vogue magazine. I think alot of the time people buy magazines to imagine themselves owning those things, and in this case Payless is telling them they can afford the fancy things. But like you pointed out maybe the comfort level isn’t there.

    1. Jacob,

      We share the same sentiments. I don’t really read magazines either. Which is probably why the ones I had were so old. Ha! I think it was genius for Payless to place an ad in Vogue for the very reason that you identified – there is a population of Vogue readers that are creating a fantasy (fancy clothes that they may never be able to realistically afford). In that fantasy they stumble across an ad for a company that is in their price point and the ad is displaying an outfit (including the shoes) that could actually compete with the look of the other brands (Hermes, Gucci, Prada).

      Thanks for catching that.

  2. Great analysis Elaina!

    Your insight on each ad is appreciated. Magazine ads can almost be a puzzle to what the ad is actually telling us. The unspoken cues only speak to our senses sometimes. Good job deciphering them!

    1. Hi Jeramy!

      Until this project, I really didn’t think much about the placement of magazine ads. It’s not something that was relevant to me. It is; however, extremely relevant not just to the magazine, but the company that is purchasing the ad space. This assignment made me think a little more than the others!

      Thanks for your feedback,

  3. Bolanle Akinyemi

    The magazine ad was the most difficult to complete for me, but it came out great at last! Most magazines i have the ads in them were either fashion or fashion related ads. I enjoyed reading your review.
    Bolanle Akinyemi

    1. Bolanle,

      The magazine ads were a little different! You have to think more about the strategy about placement and the magazine that each ad is placed in.

      Thanks for your feedback,

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