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DRIVING REVENUE: When Mini Cooper wanted to place an advertisement in The New Yorker to hype the launch of the Countryman, a new model with four-wheel drive, publisher Lisa Hughes had to run the campaign by editor David Remnick. The carmaker wanted to use fake advertisements and a mock cartoon to complement its real ads. The car would seem to bust out of its three placements in the magazine, into adjacent ads (actually fakes) and a cartoon (also fake). “David Remnick loved it and thought it was just great and clever,” Hughes said.
Before Condé Nast purchased The New Yorker in 1985, half-page ads were not permitted in the magazine, period. Forget, as on page 29 this week, a small ad that spills over into mock cartoons arranged in eight-ninths of a half-page spot (the remaining ninth was sold to more traditional New Yorker advertisers sellling The Ultimate Snow Shovel and canoe trips through the Canadian Arctic). The Cooper ads almost make fun of the magazine’s usual advertising. “It plays on the New Yorker humor tradition, and our readers love of small space, which is part of the fabric of the magazine,” said Hughes. “And it’s fun.”
Even though the Cooper advertisements are louder than usual, they are not more expensive than a more understated placement in the same space. “We’re rate-card and that’s that,” Hughes said. Mock cartoons must be tinted and appear with an “advertisement” slug.
“We always want to uphold a certain taste level,” added Hughes. She said that the magazine has not turned away advertising under her watch. But “never say never,” she continued. “We want to have an attractive magazine and something that feels appropriate.”
— ZEKE TURNER