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Friday, Sep 22, 2023

Teen Magazine Presents Its Advertisers a Captive Audience

As youths spend more money, estimated to be more than a billion dollars, companies around the world hope to tap into this market.

One Carlsbad firm has built its business around the teen market by giving teens as well as advertisers what they want.

Grip Publications, Inc. prints a bi-monthly magazine from September through June and has an online version incorporating a scholarship database and an E-commerce site.

Grip Magazine is distributed at more than 2,500 campuses nationwide and has a readership of about 250,000, according to New York-based BPA International’s June audit of circulation.

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Since the publication has controlled circulation through a classroom setting, it is estimated eight people read each copy, according to Matt Morrison, president and vice president of sales and marketing for Grip Publications.

While the endeavor is fairly new , the magazine has only been published for about three years , it has already attracted the attention and advertising dollars of several large companies.

The publication is advertiser driven, with 20 to 25 percent of the magazine being ads, he said. The ratio is expected to stay the same as the magazine grows since it is distributed in a classroom setting.

Current companies advertising with or sponsoring Grip Publications are Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Fox Broadcasting, JanSport, Reebok, New Line Cinemas, MGM and others. While many of the businesses try to target the youth market through television, radio and film, the affiliation with Grip is different in that the magazine and online extensions are fairly new.

Although the company would not release revenues, Morrison said last year sales increased four-fold. He expects an increase of eight or nine times this year.

When starting Grip Publications, the founders made sure there were advertising dollars and a niche available in the market, he said.

As the children of baby boomers, today’s teens are the largest population group, according to Dr. Michael Reilly, director of education for The Advertising Arts College in San Diego.

Many businesses are trying to reach this market and associate a product with this generation. Once a product becomes part of what defines a group, these teens will most likely use the product the rest of their lives, he said.

– Companies Reach

Youthful Market

Companies would rather spend money now with the hope teens will adopt a product and less advertising dollars will have to be spent later, Reilly said.

Morrison also said companies target teens because their entire income is disposable.

Several market research groups calculate that teen spends more than a billion dollars a year.Besides targeting the right niche, Morrison believes Grip’s projects on and offline are unique so that both teens and advertisers are attracted to it.

The publication is written by student interns; only six adults are employed by the company. It’s the only publication written entirely by teens that is distributed to high schools on a national level, Morrison said.

The magazine has sections covering news, opinions, sports, fashion, education, entertainment, events and more.

– Content Written

By Teen-Agers

Since teens are very “media savvy” and can “see right through” gimmicks, it helps that Grip Magazine’s content is written by teens instead of adults, he said.

Reilly said teens are much more knowledgeable about media and technology because they grew up in that environment.

As a result, “advertisers have to be much more sophisticated and subtle in their approach to attract attention,” he said.

Instead of companies using the “buy this” approach, people are much more likely to see someone doing something that they enjoy while using a product, Reilly said.

Although Reilly is not familiar with Grip Magazine, he did say school administrators might be reluctant about distributing a teen publication with certain advertising on campus.

Morrison said some schools have decided that the magazine was not appropriate. The company has propelled Grip Magazine into schools by including educational substance.

– Section Focuses

On Educational Topics

A section called “Greymatter” focuses on educational topics, particularly information on preparation for college.

Schools subscribe to the publication and receive it at no cost. Morrison said that many schools use the magazine since budget cuts have eliminated newspapers or journalism classes.

Working for Grip Magazine can also help students who are interested in pursuing an education and career in the field, Morrison added.

As a marketing vehicle, Grip Publications has also created a network of possibilities when it comes to reaching teens. The company has instituted a cross-marketing strategy between each of its components as follows:

– The magazine

– The online and expanded version of the magazine at (www.gripmagazine.com)

– A compendium of every public and private college and trade school in the nation, which has only been distributed on CD and will be available online in a few months

– A financial aid/scholarship database and search engine on the Web

– ClubZoo.com, a virtual shopping mall stocked with items selected by teen scouts.

“Having more than one type of media within our media company is really important if you’re targeting consumers,” Morrison said.

“As a network you can promote all of your properties at the same time, and you get a whole lot more bang for your buck that way. So do advertisers for that matter.”

– Companies Try

Subtle Approach

This integrated approach to marketing is becoming more common as companies advertise more subtly, Reilly said.

Subtlety works best when people see the same product ads again and again in different mediums, he added.

While this undertaking is still relatively new , many of these features have gone online only recently , and the true marketing effect cannot be measured, businesses have experienced success with their promotions, Morrison said.

Coca-Cola launched a Cherry Coke campaign that included ads and a CD puzzle game in the magazine. After the issue’s distribution, Morrison said that the company received 2,000 to 3,000 Web site requests for the game each week for about two months.

Big companies aren’t the only ones that get a share of the pie. ClubZoo.com offers smaller businesses the chance to compete against established brands as well.

The E-commerce site also differs in that teens scout for and select the products that are offered. Grip Publications approaches these companies and works on an agreement to offer the product, he said.

“Why aren’t they targeted by other (online) ventures? Because they don’t understand what teens want. Teens don’t want to wear what their parents are wearing,” Morrison said.

Up next on the company’s agenda is an international plan. Morrison said that the company has plans to expand its network to Japan and Europe in the coming year. The company also hopes to have the magazine on newsstands by 2001.


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