Magazines Now Just Attacking the Internet Directly

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The first annual Media Vanguard Awards, given by Ad Age, were announced today. They were "created to honor transformative, next-generation media" in the fields of broadcast, newspaper, magazine, and native digital publications. Awards went to many different outlets, like the FT for its "Alphaville" collection of blogs, USA Today, Esquire, and The Wall Street Journal for their iPad apps, and Martha Stewart for lifetime achievement. (We here at nymag.com were noted for being "Best Magazine Website." Thanks, guys!) But in contrast to all of this multi-platform love, this week the Magazine Publishers of America unveiled a puzzling advertisement. You know those ads for "Magazines!" that you see (in magazines, oddly enough) that try desperately to convince you that the medium is still relevant? It's usually a bunch of text with some magazine covers interspersed with commentary asking you not to give up on your glossy habit in favor of the Internet.

This new ad, as noted by Jeremy Peters in the Times, seems to directly attack the Internet:


This is not the Internet. Feel free to curl up and settle in. Magazines don’t blink on and off. They don’t show video or deliver ads that pop up out of nowhere. You can’t DVR magazines and you can’t play games on them. But you can take one to the beach, to bed, or just about anywhere else and, chances are, it will engage, entertain and enlighten you in ways no other medium can.

Yeah. You definitely can't take the Internet to the beach with you these days. Or to bed — nobody has ever surfed the web in bed.

This is such an old-fashioned view of the digital/print divide that it almost seems as though whoever wrote the ad forgot that many magazines have apps for tablet devices and put all of their "engaging, entertaining, and enlightening" content online in full (on websites with pop-up ads, actually).

By the way, the woman in the hammock on the beach that's pictured in this ad? Not reading a magazine.

Magazines Take a Shot at the Net [NYT]