What is Kiwiness?
I have to admit I am a bit envious sometimes of Jones Publishing’s Julian Andrews. Not only is he a successful publisher of Dish and Top Gear New Zealand, he is a committed family man, and a bloody nice bloke. He cares about his industry and even gives advice to pretenders like me.
I was fascinated to see the latest issue of Top Gear NZ, and I should note this magazine is doing very well. It’s a real success story and it is perceived as a local magazine. And I have to wonder what is it about the mix that does it, because inside are the usual columns by Messrs Clarkson and May, and for a few pages, it is as Pommy as it can get. When I read the editorial and the editor mentioned a Cavalier, I thought he meant a Vauxhall, not a Toyota.
The envy comes in where he can make these world-class mags and they are perceived to have a Kiwiness about them, hence translating well to the patriotic side of the Kiwi buyer. Dish, the food magazine, is world-class and it kicks all its foreign and foreign-owned magazines so hard that their coverage looks like it was done by Garﬁeld.
It’s come in a week where two more folks have told my team that they thought Lucire is foreign, and on sale is the issue that has the New Zealand ﬂag and a Kiwi girl—Amber Peebles, the local MTV presenter—on the cover.
They mean it as a compliment, and the theory is that because we are so used to putting crap to our name, that if it’s this good, it must be foreign.
Ironically, it is one of the very few domestically owned titles on the shelves—indeed, New Zealand Fashion Quarterly is the foreign entrant. Perceptions, however, are reversed.
But my theory doesn’t stack up when you look at Dish and Idealog. These aren’t “so good they must be foreign”. And Idealog is not a particularly local name.
Maybe I should accept that Lucire needs to be exported more, and that this is spirit hinting at the next export deal—and that I should pursue accordingly. After all, the local magazine publishers’ association won’t answer our membership enquiries, and the logical thing to do last year was to collaborate with the US equivalent.
The brand, when I developed it, was always meant to transcend borders, hence it was geographically indeterminate, and now that it does post a proﬁt, maybe the decision one should take is ﬁnancing expansion, rather than acquisition.
But it still doesn’t answer my original inquiry: what makes Kiwiness? If Jeremy Clarkson and Amber Peebles don’t affect geographic perception, then what does? Posted by Jack Yan, 01:20
The name "Lucire" (which is still pronounce "Lew-seer" rather than "lew-cheeray" ) has an international ring to it, the fact that the pronounciation is ambiguous helps erode the "kiwiness" more than anything else. To me anyway.
International name + international quality must = international mag in the minds of consumers.
# posted by Dan Gordon: 11/05/2006 04:11:00 AM
Seriously, did the NZ Magazine Publishers Association turn you down for membership? That's bloody rude as well as inexplicable.
Jack, I can certainly hear the puzzlement in your post.
It is a great question. One that we could pose here in Iowa too.
Always good to read your postings.
One "Jackness" trait that is obvious to me is your willingness to be transparent and authentic as you muse on such matters.
Keep creating, Mike
# posted by Michael Wagner: 11/18/2006 07:02:00 PM
Thank you, Dan. Good point there. Simon: yes, they just never got back to me despite repeated enquiries. I guess they aren’t interested. Michael, thank you!Post a Comment
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