Around April of this year, subscribers of Wired were provided with a tip-on cover solicitation with an interesting twist.
The offer was for the opportunity for anyone (fast enough) to have their own customized cover of Wired with your own photo on it! If you were one of the 5,000 people that responded first, your custom issue with your ugly mug on it was delivered to your home with the July 2007 issue…
..I was one of those 5,000 lucky people.
Here is what the solicitation tip-on looked like:
Naturally, I jumped at it the same afternoon that I received my snail mail copy which had the offer (you gotta move quickly these days).
The downside was that I didn’t have my digicam handy so I uploaded a rather pedestrian photo of myself which was the only one that I had on hand (I thought for sure that I was going to miss the window in the next 10 minutes so I erred on the side of speed rather than ‘ultra cool look at me’).
Oddly, I don’t recall getting one email or notice about the entire effort and was surprised to find out that I made the cut when my customized issue arrived. These were not one-off, tip-on covers but a full blown, real-deal, quaility cover stock and color reproduction effort.
Here is what mine looked like (with some editing to protect your sensibilities and mine… note to self: have better jpg of on hand in the future other than tradeshow like photo with military grade ‘doo):
As cool as this was, there were some huge opportunities lost here for both Wired and their sponsor, Xerox.
1) Cool background but why no geotargeting? A Google Map background graphic was perfect but why wasn’t it geolocated to my subscriber address? There were only 5,000 of these completed and if Reason magazine could pull this off for 40,000 of their subscribers back in 2004, Wired should easily have been able to accomplish this effort for less than 1% of their readership in 2007.
2) Zero PR before or after. I have only read a little about this from other bloggers and not much else about this on the internets filled with their amazing tubes. Xerox was listed as the sponsor but there was little put out about this on their part either. Too bad.
3) Zero follow-up. I was ever asked if I wanted to get more copies or a framed version. Granted, only a small number of narcissists would have taken them up on it but why not ask? Was this just a test for something else bigger?
Wired’s circulation is over 620,000 per month (The test represented less than 1% of their total circ). Was this a marketing test supported by Xerox that didn’t make it out of beta? Probably.
My guess is that Wired clients were pitched with a very cool customizable idea that also came with a hefty price tag. With little PR, no follow through on clicks beyond the landing page where I signed up, the effort must have deemed to ‘fall short’ of expectations.
Too bad though. There is still a way to check out yourself on a cover of Wired though by using this link (still sponsored by Xerox btw…)
Best of all…I can honestly say that I made the cover of Wired!
Here are some of the other lucky 5,000 that have posted their custom covers via Flickr.