Monthly Archives: May 2013

The PPA Cover Of the Year: why the smart money’s on the Corgi


The 2013 PPA Awards are to be held in London on 19th June. As they did last year, the Cover Of The Year award is decided by public vote, here on their site. This is a controversial process, favouring those covers which jump out of a crowded field in a digital environment. Frankly, this is what covers have to do today, which makes this voting method as authentic and accurate as any other.

I wrote about this process along with the 2012 winner at some length last year. So for now, here’s a handy form guide for all the runners and riders to help you pick the winner. There’s only one more week left to vote, so make yours count!

Bookie’s Favourite

The winner will be chosen by civilians just scanning the field. They will give no thought to the carefully considered prose under each title, or make a measured assessment of strengths and weaknesses. With Tatler here, I suspect they won’t even read the brilliant coverlines, they’ll just see a pretty picture of a dog with a crown, and vote. Odds: Evens   Vote here

The Experts Choice

Elle’s Beckham cover was a masterstroke of PR. By announcing they had the shoot way ahead of time, and then furiously talking about it on Twitter, Facebook and all the rest of it, they raised the bar of expectation impossibly high. And then totally met it with this brilliant picture. Odds: 3:2   Vote here

Coverthink’s Pick

My personal favourite, this amazing piece of work gets to both the heart of the brand as well as the wider issue of paid content. The Big Issue has long been a favourite on this blog, take a look at this earlier post and this one too, and find out why this cover should win. Odds: 2:1  Vote here

Dark Horse

Celebrating the Jubilee and the Olympics all rolled into one, Fabric has produced this truly beautiful pastiche of the Queen’s head on a postage stamp. This runner is not well know, but could do well in a tight finish. Odds: 5:1  Vote here

The Romantic’s Choice

Would do well to beat out the established runners, but Traveller is well worth it’s place in the field. Beautiful photograph, great colour and already with one win under its belt this season. Odds: 8:1  Vote here

Maiden Outing

This is the debut issue of Student Farmer. A strong articulation of a highly niched proposition, will do well if it rains and the going gets heavy. Odds: 12:1  Vote here

Hot Filly

Everyone always overlooks Cosmo in competitions like these, failing to understand the true power of the work. The fact is, Cosmo is out of a massive international stable, with a true grasp of newsstand performance. A good each way bet. Odds: 16:1  Vote here

Carrying Too Much Weight

Wallpaper* has long been regarded as a hot favourite in these competitions, but as a result is now carrying a tremedous weight of expectation. The work is impressive, but the distance may now prove too much for this legendary performer. Odds: 20:1  Vote here

Class Act

Riding in the womens’ mass market is generally recognised as the toughest race of all. The competition is desperate, the ground uncertain, and results always close. Woman has now established itself as the best in its field, as this ultra competitive cover demonstrates. But will it have enough to win away from its home track? Odds: 36:1  Vote here

Long shot

It’s a terrific piece of work, but as an interactive story, requires going online to understand the true benefit. Shortlist looks good at the gate, but will do well to match the pace of the leaders. Odds: 50:1  Vote here

The Outsider

Time Out’s move from paid to free was announced by this highly successful cover. It divided the critics at the time, but wins it’s place in this race by virtue of its unalloyed utility. Could this be the Foinaven of 2013? Odds: 100:1  Vote here

The PPA has another public cover vote going on right now, that’s for the greatest cover of the last 100 years. Have a look here to see my predictions for that much longer distance event.

Nuts is copied by Zoo EXACTLY!

On the left is an issue of Nuts from exactly one year ago. On the right is the new issue of Zoo, published this week.

When the Zoo editorial team were trying to work out their cover presentation, one must assume they were so taken with the Nuts approach, they just decided to copy it. One has to admire the brazen cheek of it, but it can’t be particularly rewarding for the Zoo team, having to slavishly copy your rivals work.

But the fact is, this attempt to cause confusion in the minds of the readers helps neither title. Zoo can’t claim to be a brand in its own right, Nuts is tarred by the brush of its lesser rival, and the public are taught that both offerings are generic.

Since both titles launched within a week of each other eight years ago, Nuts has always sold substantially more. To the naked eye, both brands appear similar, but they’re genuinely quite distinct. Nuts is generally regarded as the classier, funnier read, and has maintained way more consistency in it’s editorial direction. By contrast, Zoo has struggled to define itself in anyway that’s distinct or different to Nuts, other than to be ruder.

Which is why they ripped off this cover design, as it’s closest to thier own idea of who they are.

Given that digital editions are becoming increasingly important, it’ll be interesting to see how Nuts continues to manage it’s relationship with Apple, as it is they who cast judgement over what will or will not be sold in their newsstand.

In the future, it’s highly likely that both brands will need to define themselves in a world when nudity is no longer an option.

Five must-see, must-read links

Great post on how The New York Times should pile in after the success of Snow Fall, and treat it’s showstopping digital features more like movie openings.

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Men’s Health is a massive international brand, so there’s big expectations of it’s new redesign. Take a look at the work and hear from Creative Director Robert Festino at SPD Grids.

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More from Fast Company on how to get the best from long form stories online. Good tips, and AMAZING stats.

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We’ve seen them all before, but these 27 print cock-ups are stil blindingly funny.

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Here’s a handy infographic on the mobile advertising eco-system. Read the full story on Business Insider.