Article: Magazine Sachet Testing: Q&A with Smithers Pira expert Alan Gillespie

One of the signature standard services offered by Smithers Pira is the magazine sample testing undertaken by our Distribution Testing laboratory. Expert Alan Gillespie answers some FAQs.

Are magazine give-aways still a popular form of promotion?

Yes, especially with publishers facing fierce competition on the newsstand. Publisher-led cover gifts, promotions and incentives are habitual and effective tools to tempt consumers to purchase a particular magazine. The brands advertising inside the magazines are just as competitive; on-page or on-cover product samples are commonly employed, often by cosmetic, food and household brands.

If a publisher is looking to run a cover promotion or an on page sample, are there any practical pitfalls they need to be aware of?

As magazines journey through production to the newsstand or letterbox, anything attached or inserted needs to be robust enough to survive intact. If it isn’t durable enough, is badly affixed or inserted in a poor location within the magazine, problems occur. Common issues include product breakage, leakage, damage or loss. Sometimes damaged give-aways, or even entire print runs, have to be written off, causing delays and loss of sales. These types of problems can quickly become extremely costly and time-consuming.

Can anything be done to avoid these sorts of issues?

It’s important to test the robustness of sample items before acceptance for insertion. You can then identify packs likely to fail in distribution and make any necessary modifications. This is where Smithers Pira gets involved, offering specialist independent and internationally recognised testing. Our tests give validation of durability for any promotional inserts. We can also help clients ensure they locate items in the best place within their magazines. Clients then have peace of mind that they will avoid costly mistakes or claims down the line. If testing reveals that items are not durable, we can also give guidance on design specification.

How long does it take?                                      

The turnaround on testing is very fast, with testing completed after 24 hours of receiving test request. Depending on requirements, the service can cost only a few hundred pounds / dollars. You can download an application form using the link on the right of this page.

Who do you work with?

Smithers Pira regularly works with leading publishers, contract packers, sachet manufacturers and marketing companies. Our customers include Hearst Magazines, Conde Nast, Bauer Media, L’Oreal, Bioplan, Procter & Gamble, Estee Lauder, Time Inc and Arcade Marketing.

For more information on our Magazine Sachet Testing services, please contact either:

Alan Gillespie (UK): by email or phone +44 (0) 1372 80 2081

Michael Kuebler (US): by email or phone (517) 322-2400 

Daniel Spearman: by email or phone +44 (0) 1372 80 2010.