MPA Needs to Trade Up Its Strategy

The Magazine Publishers of America is once again running an ad campaign to reverse ad page declines. The Fallon-NY work for the MPA run in 2005 was goofy and strategically off the mark creating futuristic portraits of how magazines will still be around when our dogs are robots. Mullen had the account for a bit and it, too, missed the strategic mark.
Anne Bologna and Ari Merkin, previously of Fallon-NY and now at their nice shop Toy, are taking another crack at it. Using that humorous sensibility that works so well for their client Oxygen Network, Toy has created an MPA campaign called “under the influence.”  Unfortunately, it feels to me like just another trade campaign targeting media buyers with an efficacy message. It’s a campaign that jumps right to the end game: print ads work. It is a new twist on the advertising that the radio association, newspaper association, outdoor association, etc., have been doing for years. 
The problem is people aren’t reading magazines; they are too busy, with too many other choices. The MPA campaign needs to get people to change their behavior — to make an appointment to spend time with magazines. And what are magazines? They are colorful, in-depth, analyses by brilliant writers who enrich and enlighten. Magazines make us smart, current, and provide stimulating thoughts. This is what the campaign needs to convey. I know Toy gets this. Sadly, the MPA’s paying constituents want a trade campaign that tells media buyers that magazines get results.