Friday, July 25, 2008

When "green" issues don't make enough green

This is hardly surprising, but in magazine publishing, it really is all about the money. And when environmental magazine issues are published and don't sell well enough, they run the risk of not getting published in the future. According to, "green issues" were among the lowest-selling this year. Why? Consumers are "skeptical" over environmental messages. The result? The New York Times reports that the advertising industry will scale back on green-themed marketing.

Maybe it has less to do with skepticism and more to do with cover choices? Madonna graced both Elle and Vanity Fair for their green issues. Is it a coincidence that neither sold a ton? I can think of better eco-celebrity choices than her!

It should be noted that the green Vanity Fair didn't sell as poorly as some other green issues, like those of Time and Discover. But Elle hasn't reported such low sales since May 2006, when they published a - what else? - green issue.

This is a setback in the magazine world, but eco-fashion is still going strong. It's important to keep in mind that it's a relatively new movement in the U.S. But with other countries, especially the trend-setting U.K., as fashion trailblazers, I have no doubt that ethical fashion will be big here, and soon. I truly think, in the future, all fashion will be green, and poor magazine sales won't sway that. Besides, as Portfolio's Jeff Bercovici pointed out, the lack of sales could actually be a good thing! It could mean less magazines being printed next time around, which is better for the environment; or perhaps, next spring, publishers will forgo their annual green issues and "go dark," printing nothing at all. Wouldn't that send a chilling message?

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