Magazine Cover Staff Blog

Bloomberg Businessweek keeps pushing the envelope

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There is always a giggle, gasp or ‘guffaw’ on a Friday morning when the iSUBSCRiBE email inboxes receive the latest Bloomberg Businessweek cover. The covers are circulated, debated and posted on Facebook. But is our crew of 20 and 30 something’s the audience they are trying to attract? And as the Atlantic Wire’s Alexander Nazaryan puts it; “At what point do risqué covers actually undermine the reporting they are supposedly advertising?

The July 15, 2013 cover took on the over paid and under-performing hedge fund managers with its proactive look at perception versus reality. The cover was one of the hotly talked about items in the news that week with the cover happily re-tweeted with observers joining in on the joke; “It’s only offensive if you have a small hedge fund”, and “That Businessweek cover would be funnier if the red line were only three inches long” and “Bloomberg business week cover image on hedge funds is a real pisser”.

It’s not the first time Bloomberg Businessweek has flirted with sexual innuendo. The January 9, 2012 cover pictures Continental and United airlines ‘joining forces’ mid air with a report inside questioning the complexity of bringing the two companies together to form the world’s largest airline. With a cover that some might see as a reference to the mile high club it definitely got people talking with the cover picking up the American Society of Magazine Editors cover of the year award for the Business & Technology category.

Other stand-out and notable Bloomberg covers which have earned ‘water cooler chat’ status in our office include the ‘Bang head here’ cover with a look at the Euro debt crisis, the very direct ‘Yes, the Chinese Army is Spying on You’ cover and the shocking three step ‘How To Sell Drugs’ cover from June 2012.

Let's Get it on

Although Bloomberg has it’s detractors with the likes of Alexander Nazaryan questioning “is the purported audience of Businessweek going to be attracted by such tactics?” I believe Bloomberg’s tactic is a smart one. No longer content to just focus on a 45 something male, its covers and articles attract a new audience, the young and socially connected likely to retweet a cover and maybe, one day pick up a copy. Like the old adage suggests; isn’t any publicity good publicity?

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