KS&R Blogs


My 86-year old father is in the process of buying a new car. I became aware of this when, to my astonishment, I found him sitting in the sunroom reading lifestyle magazines. My dad is a retired chemical engineer who spent nearly 40 years working for U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh, Pa. His interests are new developments in coke processing, golf, fishing, and the Steelers --- not learning how to make wild rice pilaf from scratch, or a washcloth mitt out of decorative ribbon.

When I asked my father why he was reading these magazines, he held up a full-page, color ad for an SUV and said, "Just take a look at this ad. You can really see and appreciate the styling and the detail in the design of this car --- a lot better than on TV or in a newspaper."

In fact, magazine ads have a long, rich history of providing people with ideas for products and services that match or enhance their lifestyle. The first magazine ad appeared in 1742 in Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine.

Yet with the growth of new media and innovative technologies, it is easy to wonder if print ads are a good way to spend advertising dollars. Research recently conducted by KS&R on vehicle purchase decision making reveals that magazine ads play an important, complementary role to visual, audio and electronic media.

For a consumer shopping for a new car, magazine ads offer real advantages:

  • Really show me what the vehicle looks like
  • Helps me connect the vehicle to my lifestyle and interests
  • Makes me aware of new features and technology
  • Helps me identify with the vehicle
  • Communicates the image/feel of the vehicle/brand
  • Helps me to put the vehicle into the context of my life
  • Provides an environment in which I can imagine myself owning / driving the vehicle
  • Motivates me to seek out additional information
  • Makes it easy for me to know where to get additional information it lists the website and makes it easy to remember

Additionally, research indicates that consumers tend to keep magazines around and flip through them several times before finally storing, lending, or recycling them. Why is this important? An ad needs to be seen 3-10 times in order for it to be effective. With a print ad in a magazine, an advertiser can achieve effective frequency in just one issue.

Mark Twain said, "Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising". I think my dad would agree, as he sits back on the couch and dreams of GM's new keyless entry system on his next vehicle.

All the best,
Lynne Van Dyke