Popular Mechanics’ decade of publishing has been a success story the brand has good reason to celebrate. To mark the occasion, its team has put together a bumper birthday issue featuring a section dedicated to anniversary-related content, while readers can win prizes worth almost R400 000 – including a Ford Focus.
“It’s been an amazing ride – and we’ve barely started,” said founding editor Alan Duggan. “The latest AMPS figures put us around 15 per cent up on the same period last year, which is pretty good considering the current state of the magazine market.
“We are happy to say that Popular Mechanics is now recognised as the intelligent choice for anyone who wants to know how their world works. And although we acknowledge our categorisation as a ‘male interest’ title, we take great pride in our growing – and refreshingly spirited – female readership.”
Duggan credits much of Popular Mechanics’ success to the staff’s willingness to embrace new concepts – the brand’s strong digital presence is evidence of this – as well as their ability to exploit useful opportunities. He points out that the magazine’s editorial and design team has remained largely intact for 10 years.
“Everyone feels as if they have a stake in our success, and that feeling is infectious. For example, we have been producing our own 30-second TV commercials for the past year or more, from script to broadcast-ready file. The accompanying sense of achievement, not to mention the saving, is enormously satisfying.”
The magazine was launched in 2002 with a “distinctly modest budget and a burning desire to capture and retain an audience of tech-savvy, gadget-hungry people who also enjoyed reading about cars, cutting-edge science, outdoor adventures, and home improvement,” he said.
It has evolved into a multi-channel brand that engages with its growing audience via Web, mobile, e-mail newsletters (currently reaching nearly 50 000 opt-in subscribers), social media, conferences, trade shows, television appearances and special reader events such as the recent escorted tour to Matjiesfontein and the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) near Sutherland.
The August birthday issue will be promoted at shopping malls and retail outlets around the country, where prizes include Big Boy scooters, Spar vouchers and merchandise. Readers also stand to win prizes in each of Popular Mechanics’ main categories: Home, Outside, Science, Tech and Wheels.