St. Joseph gives Maclean’s a total brand overhaul

One of Canada’s most iconic media brands has been given a makeover, revealed with its newest issue. For the first in 10 years, Maclean’s has been redesigned with what owner SJC Media calls the “most extensive visual overhaul in its 116-year history.”

SJC described the changes, which include a new nameplate, bold design and more photography, all packaged in a perfect-bound print magazine with more pages and better-quality paper, as “urgent elegance.”

“We locate our new cover somewhere between a newspaper front-page and a book cover; it’s the kind of cover that sits comfortably on the coffee table for a month but also simply has to be read the moment it arrives in the mail,” said the magazine’s executive editor, Stephen Gregory.

Maclean’s is also “broadening” its editorial mandate, with an increased focus on long-form journalism; more society coverage, science and trends; and a revamped Interview section profiling the biggest names in the news.

Long a trusted and respected source for its coverage of important Canadian stories, the magazine’s extensive overhaul seems driven by a desire to reach younger readers accustomed to getting their news content online.

“While our younger readers used to equate civic engagement with voting, they have now turned towards activism around issues such as race and the environment as ways to express their concerns about the country,” said editor-in-chief Alison Uncles. “We are so pleased to unveil a Maclean’s that’s more feisty, vibrant and even more relevant, packed with stories that Canadians just have to read.”

In terms of new or different opportunities for advertisers, an SJC spokesperson said that “Maclean’s has some very exciting new positioning opportunities in-book.”

It is also working on new survey and ranking opportunities for advertisers, and expanding its well-read education portfolio, which includes three different special interest publications: Universities Guidebook, Colleges Guidebook and University Rankings. Marketers can also work with SJC Media’s branded content division, Patron Studios.

According to Vividata research, readers pick up the same issue of Maclean’s an average of 3.3 times; are 38% more likely to have a household income of more than $150,000; 26% more likely to buy new products, and 42% more likely to purchase a product they see advertised.

Maclean’s gets more than five million monthly readers across print and digital, with its unique web visitors grew to more than seven million at the start of the pandemic.

“The re-envisioned Maclean’s is gorgeous, bold and smart,” said Uncles. “It delivers on the promise of a current affairs magazine, circa 2021; we cover politics and public affairs, of course, but we also embrace the zeitgeist stories you’ll be discussing with your friends tomorrow… In an age of distraction, a beautifully designed print magazine is a thing unto itself, a physical artifact that leans into a mandate of beauty and knowledge.”

David Brown