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Thursday, 10/08/17

My Day At 'The Lab' And 'Olive' Magazine

By Rebecca Thompson, Planner/Buyer

Olive Magazine

The Magnetic Agency ran 'The Lab' for the second time this year, which consisted of 2 days of heaven for planners who love magazines!

Part 1 was a jammed packed day which included Dr Nick Southgate discussing 'Why not all Media Spaces are Created Equal' (you can read a similar talk of his here, which touches on similar points - There were also panels such as  'Meet the Scientist' which saw members of research and insight teams discuss and debunk common conceptions about magazines and 'Meet the Editors' where the Editors from Elle, Esquire and Heat discussed the importance of relationships with magazines and understanding what readers are passionate about.
The afternoon session had Marcus Rich, CEO of Time Inc, discussing Magazine Innovations with the key point being that 2017 is about content and how that will lead into 2018 having a focus on context.

The rest of the day was a planning task which got us all thinking about how we could use magazine brands and all their platforms when planning a campaign.


As Part 2 of 'The Lab', I was lucky enough to spend the day at one of my favourite magazines - Olive.

It was fantastic to see all aspects of how they create their magazine and the hard work that goes in to each issue. We started off in their test kitchen with Laura Rowe the Editor, Food Director Janine and Cookery Writer Adam. They talked through their process of creating recipes, how inspiration can come from anywhere and how they try each recipe 3 times to ensure it is do-able. What I like about Olive are the recipes being achievable and that the pictures look fantastic but also not overly complicated and resembles the recipe itself - something that is important to them when they are creating each feature. We then got stuck in creating our own hot dogs - to replicate that month's cover. It was here that I realised - i'm never going to make it as a food stylist!

Laura started as editor about a year and a half ago and her passion for the title totally shines through. She talked about the key pillars of the magazine - Cook, Eat and Explore and how they develop each section to include exactly what their readers want. The focus on using reader insight research, ensuring content is inspiration but achievable for readers and ensuring everything falls within the Olive ethos was definitely key to everyone we spoke to at the title. They don't jump of trends that are simply click bate - so things like cloud eggs, which actually don't taste as nice as they look and appeared over social media for about a week before vanishing, don't get into their content if they do not meet the criteria.

Olive have developed their brand platforms beyond their print magazine, with a strong social media presence, continuously growing traffic to their website and even a weekly podcast adding another dimension to their brand.

Next we spent time with a member of their production department, Eleanor. She spoke about how the magazine is actually physically printed. It was really interesting to hear how the print process works, how costs can vary with paper weights and specific spot colours as well as the different printers they use across the UK.

We then had a presentation with Nina from Immediate's Insight team who explained their panel who they contact with different questionnaires to enhance their research. It consists of 12k people who are usually subscribers and foodies tend to be the best respondents. They use a lot of open ended questions as their panel tend to like to write in their own words, meaning they get some nice quotations to pull out and reuse. The panel is available to speculative briefs but also for research post campaign reports.

The day finished up with Rob who is the Partnership manager in the Imagine team. We did some fun ice breakers and a brainstorming session which got us thinking creatively about approaching a brief and how every big idea can be scaled down to a realistic approach.

It was fantastic to see how the magazine works and is developed from so many different areas to create the finished product and how our clients could work creatively with Immediate's titles to create campaigns.



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