Playboy Publishing Mexico: Interview with Erik Guerra: “We expect to post 25% growth”
Playboy Publishing Mexico is the trade name of Marcas de Entretenimiento SA, which includes the following four titles: Playboy, OPEN, El Gourmet, and FWD.
Portada interviewed Erik Guerra, Director of Sales and Marketing for Playboy Publishing Mexico, who talked to us in detail about the company’s editorial lines and advertising strategies for its products.
Playboy Publishing Mexico was formed 3 years ago, after Grupo Integracional de Negocios de Playboy, OPEN and El Gourmet bought publishing company Lyrsa, which was in a financial straits. FWD was then launched using the same editorial teams.
Erik Guerra details the main features of the group’s four magazines and its advertising strategy:
Published under license, with a monthly circulation of 120,000.
Entertainment for men, featuring nude celebrities. "Playboy is betting on getting the best names in the Mexican star system and popular and trending celebrities, as well as using a very dynamic and edgy editorial formula, featuring well-known writers," says Guerra.
"We appeal not only to the visual man, but also to men with cultural and lifestyle interests," says Guerra.
According to Guerra, the magazine’s business strategy for this year is to attract luxury goods and lifestyle brands. "In a society like Mexico, advertising sales are a challenge, since there are associations "in favor of the best," which include such brands as Bimbo, Cuervo, Nestle and Unilever, among others, who have a prejudice against these publications and do not advertise in them as a matter of policy. However, there has been a boom in the C+ middle-class, which has high aspirations and is a consumer of premium brands, and that's where our business opportunity lies," explains Guerra.
Proprietary magazine with a monthly circulation of 35,000.
Focus is on the male lifestyle: short articles and items about the latest in fashion, watches, cars, food, gadgets and technology in general. "OPEN sets itself apart from other magazines in this niche (Deep, GQ, Life and Style, Esquire) by always featuring a female personality on the cover, who agrees to sit for an interview and a sexy, but very classy pictorial. In this way, we obtain our competitive advantage by portraying the OPEN woman as a social and emotional complement to men, and not as an object," says Guerra.
Men ages 25-45, AB C+.
According to Guerra, this market segment competes with foreign licenses, but he believes it has grown considerably during the last 3 years in Mexico. The magazine’s business strategy, says Guerra, is to capitalize on the fact that "luxury brands look for niche windows to showcase their products, talking one-on-one with their consumers to the greatest extent possible, and magazines are the ideal vehicle for that."
Published under license from Argentine TV channel elgourmet.com. The license belongs to Pramer Media, and Playboy Publishing Mexico has the exclusive on all in- country editorial properties and Internet sites. Monthly circulation: 35,000.
Views from international chefs and brief articles on books, accessories, places, and wine and lifestyle trends linked to the gourmet and personalities theme.
"The editorial target of this title are bon vivants who enjoy fine dining; housewives with purchasing power who are culturally interested in gourmet topics; and gastronomy students who use it as reading and reference material, and a go-to for consultation," says Guerra.
"It's a small but powerful niche," he says. The magazine’s advertisers include premium consumer products and kitchen specialties.
The title has a bimonthly circulation of 25,000. It is distributed free on premium passenger bus lines to the most important holiday resorts in Mexico. Plans for 2013 include a move to publishing monthly, with an aim to boost circulation to 35,000 copies.
"FWD is a title that bears a home imprint, meaning we feature a personality (male or female) of the Mexican star system, which we take to a tourist destination for an interview and photo shoot," Guerra explains.
The magazine seeks proximity to state government agencies responsible for promoting tourism, which attracts natural advertisers like hotels, local restaurants, and tourist services.
"Playboy Publishing Mexico will report sales growth of just over 25% this year," states Guerra.
According to Guerra, the title that generates the most traffic of the four is playboy.com.mx, with over 3 million monthly page views. Guerra says the company plans to play off of that by featuring "sub-sections for articles and content that take the reader to our other 3 sites, in order to balance traffic and strengthen the sites based on the large amount of content that we generate."
Portada: How do you sell advertising on digital media?
Erik Guerra: From our own experience in launching digital platforms, the marketing is done with separate sales teams. However, the pitches are made jointly; seeking to satisfy all of the brand’s communication needs a full 180 degrees.
Portada: W here is digital media advertising strategy headed today?
Erik Guerra: Today, our strategy also aims to exploit the sale of content with digital aggregators, as well as through the mobile version and subscriptions to the digital magazine. Given the nature of the site, Playboy has been wasting this opportunity.
We are also in the process of developing an app for various platforms (Apple, Android, etc.) to provide access to content of interest.
Portada: What are the prospects for the Mexican advertising market during the latter half of the year?
Erik Guerra: This has been a tough year so far. Only now that elections are over, have the big luxury and lifestyle brands begun to release their budgets. However, we expect a strong last quarter heavy in campaigns, especially during the Christmas season.
Playboy Publishing Mexico will generate a little over 25% sales growth for us this year, largely due to the fact that we started exploiting the digital side, but another significant part comes from new customers on the print side.
Portada: What role does advertising sales from advertisers outside of Mexico (especially from Miami) play on your media’s advertising revenues?
Erik Guerra: By having titles that are so focused on luxury and lifestyle, it was imperative to explore business opportunities from the US. That is why we did some scouting in Miami to see if we could get sales representation for our portfolio (opening our own office there is not an option yet) and the outlook is very promising.
We will have a non-exclusive representation agreement with Publicitas Charney Palacios, which currently represents Playboy in Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. By adding Mexico to the group, we’ll increase our opportunities to participate in pan-regional patterns.
For luxury brand clients and OPEN, we entrusted our marketing to US Media Consulting, which has effectively represented our lifestyle titles (such as OPEN) to direct customers.
Starting in 2013, we expect to invest approximately $100,000 per month in the Miami business across the entire platform, including digital.
Erik Guerra has over 10 years experience in the publishing industry. He was Director of International Sales and Marketing at Grupo Medios Editores for 8 years, and was also Sales Manager at Grupo Editorial Expansion (for Audi Magazine and Life & Style).
Guerra’s personal and professional challenge today "is to grow the brands in this portfolio and increase the participation of luxury brands in Playboy and OPEN through emerging PR and impulsive marketing, along with editorial direction towards more high-end and niche-focused products in each issue."
Luxury goods advertising in Playboy Mexico: A challenge
Guerra affirms that luring luxury goods advertisers to Playboy has been a major challenge, attributing it to existing prejudices against adult magazines. To counter this, he says that "today the guideline to attract these customers is based on generating high-impact content targeting AB C+, and having a public relations platform where we showcase the brand as powerful in the executive segment. In addition, the entire editorial approach is based on including women as social complements to men and not as objects."
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