Jackie Frank: “This is just the beginning”

Jackie Frank: “This is just the beginning”

It has remained a fashion brand’s dream that magazine readers could instantly buy the clothes they see modelled in its pages. But today Marie Claire launched its partnership with Netpage to allow exactly that.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

First used on Esquire and Marie Claire America, the Netpage app allows readers to access digital content from the pages of the magazine; share, tweet and email its printed content; and most importantly, instantly buy clothes and products from the ads and fashion spreads. The partnership will see Marie Claire’s August issue out on Wednesday be the first completely interactive print magazine in Australia with the purchase function previously not available for the American versions.

Speaking with B&T, Marie Claire’s editor Jackie Frank explained that this would bridge the gap between print and digital while allowing the magazine to remain the hero.

“We know it will harness the impulse purchase and that will be a huge game changer,” she said.

Using the app, readers hold their iPhone above the page to be scanned, with the page-recognition technology then sourcing the extra content linked to that spread. It also copies the image or article to be shared online with the url following the image every time it’s re-shared. The scanning software can also take readers straight to a garment’s website to make an instant purchase.

A big attraction for advertisers and of course publishers is being able to track the data and reader behaviour. Netpage analytics track what content has been clipped or saved, which social media its been shared on and how far through the social web it’s travelled.

“It’s about being able to gauge the consumer, to track the brand conversation and inspire consumers to share – to connect readers directly in the digital space without sending them off to a desktop,” Frank explained to B&T.

“This amplifies the reader’s experience and allows them to access and share content with a 24/7 capability … Technology like Netpage allows you to update your printed content. There’s no such thing as just monthly anymore.”

It’s an interesting move that contrasts to the comments Mamma Mia founder and former editor Mia Freedman made earlier this year when she said magazines were losing relevance having to compete with the 24-hour news cycle.

Freedman’s comments came at a time when the latest ABC figures had showed further declines. Marie Claire’s had at the time faired relatively well, with its monthly circulation down less than 10 per cent while one of the magazine’s major competitors, Madison, had dropped 23.33 per cent.

“It’s very easy for people who access their information for free to point the finger,” Frank had responded at the time.

“But almost 450,000 readers come to Marie Claire each month. That’s five times the amount of spectators at a football game. Those numbers are not to be scoffed at.”

The partnership with Netpage is a major move in making the publication a “360 degree brand”. Marie Claire will soon also be launching an iPad app to host an interactive version of the magazine aiming to make it the most digitally advanced publication on the market.

The brand has been working on several projects to continually build its influence. Earlier this year it orchestrated a mulitplatform project leveraging off Seven’s new show Revenge. The cast was featured on the cover and in its fashion spread. The campaign was complemented by pop ups of the cover during the show’s airing, an integrated competition for a trip to the Hamptons, and behind-the-scenes footage of the fashion shoot hosted on Yahoo!7 websites. The magazine’s circulation saw a jump thanks to the initiative.

Frank said Seven West Media’s recently appointed CEO Tim Worner approached her about a collaboration.

When asked about similar upcoming initiatives, Frank told B&T there was a big project being developed but she remained tight-lipped on details.

General manager of Publishers Australia, Matthew Green told B&T that technology like Netpage is a fantastic development for the magazine industry and that digital is an important brand extension for publications.

“[Digital] should not be treated as a separate entity to the printed magazine.  Print has a great reach but the message is delivered to a wider audience when other output channels are involved. Publishers need to diversify to keep their brand strong and this is a great example from Pacific Magazines.”

 “This is quite revolutionary in magazines and this is only the beginning,” Jackie Frank said.

Netpage will soon be introduced to New Idea, Famous and Better Homes & Gardens.