Traction Holds Key to American Driver

American Driver postThere’s much to like about American Driver, but can this slick lifestyle mag attract sufficient paid advertising to survive a changing marketplace?

Mags for the rich and famous are dependent on glam ads to go with glam editorial. While a few advertisers may be okay with a presence in this attractive publication, financial pressures in today’s environment dictate a more results-driven approach to evaluating where to spend ad dollars.

AD’s Editorial content ranges from collector profiles and automotive art, to performance jewelry such as Lambos, Corum watches, fine dining. AD is for those want a car-only version of The Robb Report.

AD’s advertiser mission statement reinforces its target affluent profile with terms like “upscale” and “successful auto enthusiast.” (What makes a “successful” car guy anyway?)

American Driver Magazine is a bi-monthly upscale publication that is delivered directly into the homes of the affluent automotive enthusiasts with interests in fine dining, entertainment and travel. A stylish, glossy publication featuring beautiful cars and scenic backdrops with informative, relevant and entertaining articles. American Driver Magazine promotes and celebrates the unique lifestyle of the successful auto enthusiast.

AD is produced in an over sized perfect-bound format with all the requisite attention to graphics, typography, photography, and layout demanded by its advertisers and readers. Circulation is built from newsstand, subscription, and controlled distribution. The magazine’s media kit is telling in what it doesn’t say about vital stat’s: “353,500+ estimated readership, 101,000 circulation.” A planned ABC audit review for Q4 ’07 has been rescheduled to later this year, according to publisher Tim Miller. With mailings at bulk rate, there’s no published USPS 3526 to confirm circ.

My simplistic world of evaluating magazine staying power comes down to this: 1.) Need to Know, 2.) Want to Know. The former has traction, the latter does not. The Rodder’s Journal has traction, American Driver does not. And that translates into whether advertisers can justify continued investments in AD.

To that end, AD’s broad market positioning and content make it difficult to identify the magazine’s core focus. Repositioning AD to a specific market segment within the high end automotive space would add much needed traction to its pages. And if a magazine’s title doesn’t succinctly convey what’s inside, then it’s time to regroup.

At the outset I suggested an ambivalence about AD in light of its production excellence versus the pure economics of making a lifestyle mag work where ad dollars are thin on the ground and the lack of verified circulation makes a fuzzy selling proposition. Growth in online communities with targeted audiences and traceable results seem to be where ad buyers for lifestyle pubs are headed.

Any AD readers or advertisers out there? If so, please post your comments.

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There Are 5 Responses So Far. »

  1. You may be correct to say this magazine has no traction. Most periodicals do not so what else is new? If ad $$$ pay the bills then so what. Nice mag, though.

  2. Been there, done that. Made money and lost money. I know what these guys are going through and hope they succeed. I’m not convinced, however, that present focus is the way to go.

  3. Publishing has a way of attracting stupid money and even stupider (is that a word?) groups of individuals who somehow believe they can compete with better funded corporations that have scale and mass in order to be profitable in the lifestyle segment. Your analysis misses an grave error on the part of magazine misfits, of merit nobody I’m aware of has any recollection of seeing/reading AD. That AutoWeek and your fab 4 are off the mark, what chance does has American Driver? Maybe your web site should help publishers with business fundamentals before they attempt a go at cyber space. (Fordor edited this Comment since initial post–CPI)

  4. Another glitz publication with 5% attention span.

  5. Still, AD is a good read and I wish them luck.

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