Mattress Company Shutters Web Publication, Pivots to Print

By: Jack Marshall


Mattress brand Casper is launching a print magazine and shuttering Van Winkle’s, the sleep-focused online publication it launched in 2015.

The company said its new magazine, titled Woolly, will be published multiple times a year and focus on themes including comfort, wellness and modern life. It will be bundled free with some Casper products and available for $12 per issue from Casper’s retail stores and website.

Companies have flocked to so-called content marketing in recent years in an attempt to align their brands with certain topics and issues without relying on straight-forward advertising. The tactic has become prevalent online, but some companies, such as Airbnb, have since taken the approach offline with their own branded print products.

But according to Casper, Woolly shouldn’t be viewed as marketing designed simply to drive mattress sales. Rather, it says it wants to use it as a vehicle to link the company to subjects it “believes in.”

“This isn’t traditional content marketing; there are no ads for Casper,” said Lindsay Kaplan, Casper’s vice president of communications and brand engagement. “It’s not about building a revenue stream either. It’s really about owning the conversation around wellness and health.”

Casper has hired nonprofit publishing company McSweeney’s to help produce the magazine, which will be headed up by former New York Post editor John DeVore. (The New York Post is owned by News Corp, which also owns The Wall Street Journal.)

The launch of Woolly marks somewhat of a pivot for Casper’s media efforts from digital to print, a move that bucks recent media trends. In 2015 it hired four veteran journalists and launched a website called Van Winkle’s with the goal of selling ads and building a stand-alone media property dedicated to all things sleep.

The site failed to gain significant traction with readers, however, and will cease publication to make way for Woolly. Van Winkle’s one remaining editorial staffer will now work on Woolly instead.

Woolly plans to focus on a broader range of topics than just sleep alone—topics people might enjoy reading about when, for example, they’re lying on their Casper mattress. The first issue includes a “love letter to comfort pants,” confessions from your yoga instructor, a non-chronological history of snoring and a coloring book.

“When people buy a Casper, they cover it up with sheets, so there’s something special for us knowing this will remain on someone’s nightstand and remind people to get in bed, relax, unwind and get comfortable,” Ms. Kaplan said.

Billed as a “quarterly,” Casper said Woolly won’t stick to a specific publication schedule. The first issue, which is 96 pages, is available today.

Author: Jack Marshall

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Goop Launches Quarterly Print Magazine For All Your Wellness Needs

By: Madeleine Aggeler


Have you ever thought to yourself: "If only there was a way for me to read about jade vagina eggs and health stickers in hard copy?" Finally, you can! Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's digital lifestyle brand, has launched a quarterly print edition, and the first copy is set to hit newsstands September 19.

Goop the magazine will be released quarterly, and is produced in partnership with Condé Nast (the media company behind magazines like VogueThe New YorkerGlamourWired, and GQ). So far, Goop IRL looks to be everything you've come to love — and occasionally question — from, and then some.

Goop magazine's first-ever cover features its founder, figurehead, and wellness goddess Gwyneth Paltrow in repose (and seemingly without nipples), covered in fancy French mud that probably costs more than what I make in a year. Loopy lettering across her stomach reads "Earth to Gwyneth," a reference to mud, but also possibly an attempt by the company to poke fun at itself — in the past, Goop has come under criticism from experts and scientists for some of the pseudo-science behind the unconventional and often pricey health practices it advocates.

Given how precisely on-brand rest of the magazine's content is however, the headline seems less like a self-referential joke than a way for the company to thumb its nose at the haters. The first issue's theme is (unsurprisingly) wellness, and inside, you can find "easy, nutrient-dense recipes," "deep-dives into crystals and mud masks, reiki and bee-venom treatments," and "a how-to for having better orgasms." Truly down-to-earth topics for the modern gal.

And spoiler alert for those of you waiting to enjoy all of your goopy wellness advice in print form: Bee-venom treatments do indeed involve getting stung by bees. Why would someone voluntarily subject themselves to that? According to Paltrow, it helps with scars.

"The doctor stings you [with a live bee] like it’s an acupuncture needle. I had it done on my cesarean scar … I had some buckling in the scar, and it really evened it out,” Paltrow says in the inaugural issue.

Paltrow also wrote the editor's letter, and is the subject of the magazine's first profile. In addition to her close encounter with acupuncture bees, she talks about her own experience with wellness, and how she discovered juicing.

“I remember standing in a hippie health-food store in Greenwich Village and I saw a little paperback book describing a ‘master cleanse,’ and I was like, What’s that?” she writes in the editor’s letter. “I remember the next day [after I finished the cleanse] I was like, Oh, wow, I just did this cleanse, and I feel so much better. I can have a beer and a cigarette now, right?”

Goop's print magazine is the company's latest venture outside the digital realm since it raised $15 million in funding last August. Since then, it has launched beauty, clothing, and vitamin lines. In June, it organized "In Goop Health," a health and wellness expo in Los Angeles which cost between $500 and $1500 per person, and included free lube, sessions with the "resident Goop shaman," and panels featuring Cameron Diaz, Nicole Richie, and of course, Gwyneth herself.

For those of you goop-heads eager to hold your occasionally fringe wellness advice in your hands, you can pre-order copies here. Before you buy a bunch of copies to give to your friends and family and or/wallpaper your bedroom with though, be aware that, like most things in the Goop universe, the magazine has a steep-ish price tag of $14.99.

And if you need a way to calm your excitement before September 19, try Goop's most affordable health practice: earthing. According to Gwyneth: “When I take my shoes off and walk in the grass, it’s so healing."

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find some bees to sting me — for my health.

Author: Madeleine Aggeler

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A Decade After Launching, Monocle Is Still Confident About Print

By: Madalina Ciobanu

The brand has expanded its presence to include radio, podcasts and events, but it continues to invest in print products.


Andrew Tuck, the editor of Monocle, is confident the magazine is never going to have a Snapchat team.

In the decade since it was founded, Monocle has strived to make strategic decisions about where and when to invest in new products and initiatives, both editorially and commercially. Editorially, it launched Monocle 24, its 24-hour radio station, six years ago; it has branched out into events; and it's just getting to the end of a month-long experiment with print, the Monocle Summer Weekly.

Monocle now has about 110 employees across its departments, from finance to film, with bureaux in London, Istanbul, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong, Zürich, Toronto and Singapore.

Monocle's target audience are people in late 20s to mid-40s, who get their news on their phones but who still enjoy reading books and magazines in print. The majority of its readers and listeners come from the US, followed by UK, Australia, Canada and Germany, so Monocle doesn't see itself as a UK magazine.

"We've been lucky in a way that our size isn't huge. It's forced us to make lots of sensible decisions," Tuck told While Snapchat might be a good tool for recruiting people, he added, Monocle "can't play that game" of investing resources in something that cannot be directly monetised, or that doesn't bring people into the main print product.

Radio as a way into print

This is one of the reasons why a 24-hour radio offering seemed like the obvious extension of the Monocle brand into digital back in 2011. The idea was to fill the gap between state broadcasters and commercial radio, Tuck said, through a station that brought together longform journalism, pop music and sponsorship opportunities.

Monocle 24 offers daily, weekly and weekend shows, as well as catch-up segments, on topics such as news, culture, entrepreneurship, urbanism and more. The radio segments also get turned into podcasts, which can be downloaded from the website or iTunes. An example is 'The Entrepreneurs', a weekly radio show following the stories of people starting their own companies.

"It's not Serial, but it has a consistent audience, and off the back of it we've done live events with the show. We do a conference every year where many of the people who appeared on that show come as speakers and guests, so it all weaves through the world of Monocle."

Between its radio listeners and those who download the podcasts, Monocle 24 reaches one million people every month, and the shows have been another way to introduce people to Monocle's core offering: the magazine.

"You might come across a show about urbanism, design or finance and they're all different routes into what we do. You may not even know the magazine until you've found the radio station.

"A magazine looks serious, you put ink on paper, you print it, it has an earnestness about it. Whereas exactly the same journalist is then heard on the radio and people realise they're funny and warm and engaging, so it's made Monocle quite a personable brand as well."

The magazine and the radio station have separate teams, but the resources often overlap, with some editors working across print, radio, films and events. The latter include pop-up radio stations and the annual Quality of Life conference, a three-day event with panel debates and visits to local businesses and entrepreneurs.

Making it 'deliberately difficult' to read the magazine online

On the Monocle website, people can download podcasts, watch films that often but not always reflect topics discussed in the magazine, or browse the online store. These are all things that are "enjoyable to watch or listen to on a big screen" for free, Tuck said, pointing out they "have made it deliberately difficult for people to read the magazine online".

Only three articles from each issue are made available on the website each month in order to encourage people to subscribe. A one-year subscription to the magazine costs £100, and includes 10 print issues of Monocle, as well as its two special print editions, The Forecast and The Escapist. Monocle currently has a circulation of 81,504 copies and counts 18,300 subscribers, with print advertising bringing in most of its revenue.

"We make sure we have other revenue streams: we have two cafes in London, one in Toyko, five shops around the world, an online e-commerce store, we're selling subscriptions... and those additional streams are important for us going forward. But in the end, do people like the magazine and buy it, and do people like your magazine and want to advertise in it?"

A limited-run print newspaper

Most recently, Monocle decided to try a limited-run experiment with print, reinventing its former lifestyle summer newspaper, Monocle Mediterraneo, and bringing it back for four weeks in August as the Monocle Summer Weekly. The idea came, in part, from an advertiser who expressed a desire to work with Monocle on a project similar to the Mediterraneo.

The four issues of the Summer Weekly (the last one is out this week) have been sold mainly in Europe, at resorts, airports and newsstands, targeting people on holiday.

"We wanted to have some fun with it and thought 'if you were starting from scratch with news print what would you do?' What if we tried to change the model and do a newspaper supported by the brands who like the magazine? There's still something about people seeing their ad poster-sized that encourages them to want to support a project like this."

Other than revenue from advertising, the project also brought in £20,000 within the first few days from readers who pre-ordered the four issues at a cost of £45 per bundle, Tyler Brûlé, the founder and editor-in-chief of Monocle, told Nieman Lab.

Working on a weekly rather than monthly deadline enabled Monocle correspondents to write stories that tied in with the news of the day. For example the third issue of the Summer Weekly included a piece on urbanism and the future of security in our cities related to the attacks in Barcelona.

Tuck said feedback from people has been positive and there are already conversations in the newsroom about bringing the project back as a winter newspaper, or giving it an eight-week or longer run next summer.

"[The Summer Weekly] has allowed a team of very good journalists in the office to have a clear snappy voice about things happening that day.

"We're not bound by the rules of however people have done newspapers in the past, so there is a bit of cheek and a bit more humour on the page compared to what other people might do."

Author: Madalina Ciobanu

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