Thursday, March 29, 2012


The March 26 & April 2, 2012 issue of Newsweek demonstrates one way for print magazines in the digital age to stay competitive: go back to when they had no competition.

In a nifty gimmick, the articles are about current events, but (inspired by Mad Men) the design is vintage 1960s—even the ads:

In this back-to-the-future ad, can you find the funniest, wink-winkiest line?

I can’t imagine how much this challenge added to the production time, but in my estimation, it was worth it.

Any number of sites sport a retro slant, but it stands out more when an established old-school brand like Newsweek does it. This all but guarantees that a publication about news will make news.

One of the throwback ads is positively meta:

Yes, a 1960s-styled ad promoting reading on paper, the irony being that in the 1960s, no such ad would have been necessary.

I checked out the site it indicates and my favorite line there was this: “Bringing in the mail is one of the few things we all still have in common.” Though I find this claim a bit of a stretch, as a nostalgia fiend I do appreciate the intention. To wit, this is one of my favorite picture books:

It may not be immediately apparent how risky it was to publish The Milkman by Carol Foskett Cordsen and Douglas B. Jones, but putting out a kids’ book in the 2000s about a cultural element that disappeared from most communities several generations before today’s kids were born is bold indeed. And that’s but one reason it’s one of my favorites and, by extension, why I applaud the Newsweek gamble, too.


Michael Bradley said...

Very nice! I imagine it did add quite a bit of time to the production end of things, since it ostensibly required a full redesign. Getting the advertisers to play along probably posed a challenge, too. It's a clever idea, though. Good on them!

hobbyfan said...

We have a copy here where I work, Marc. I took the time to actually read it, and, man, that took me back to the days when I would be looking for things like this in waiting rooms before doctor's appointments.

Funny thing, I don't watch Mad Men. Maybe I should.