From the editor - Fashionably cynical in the face of the nerd factor

When I worked on a magazine about the NHS, it was a fair bet that in, any given room, I’d be among the most cynical people there.

For all their dark senses of humour, doctors tended to give people the benefit of the doubt in a way that media folk just don’t.

So, when I moved over to covering media I suddenly found myself in the cynicism mid-range more often than I had been used to.

And it’s not just those on the commercial side of media. The journalists are just as sceptical.

So, this week I found myself in the unusual position of being the wide eyed naif in the newsroom.

We were chatting about FHM’s Gillette initiative to promote the latter’s new vibrating razor. They distributed vibrating tip-ons with the magazine.

“Just a gimmick,” was the verdict from our brutally opinionated Aussie deputy news editor Caitlin. Then we turned to the NME’s 3D cover, which received similar derision from our hacks.

I found myself coming to both ideas’ defence. I fear I may even have used the dreaded phrase “cut though” as I failed to convince my team.

I am, by the way, painfully aware of the high-potential nerd factor, of admitting that we have heated debates about media minutiae like this in the office. And, as you’ll read in Media Bitch this week, the nerd factor was very much at the front of mind after receiving an angry missive from the International Hologram Manufacturers’ Association pointing out that we had wrongly described the NME’s lenticular picture as a hologram.

Happily, however,Media Week is not a democracy, so I ignored the team and commissioned this week’s analysis of the subject of magazine innovation anyway. You can see it on page 18.

Tip-ons, barn doors, Post-it notes, belly bands or personalised messages you name it and somebody’s tried it.

But the question we found more difficult to answer is that of whether the improvement in effectiveness justifies the extra cost. I bet there are some great case studies out there – let us know and we’ll happily publish them in a later week.

I’ll show the cynics who’s right.

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