Time Magazine’s Perfect Publicity Ploy

Source: Time magazine

Perhaps in the ever-declining world of print media, any publicity really is good publicity. When Time magazine released its  "Are You Mom Enough?" cover showing Jamie Lynne Grumet breast-feeding her three-year-old son on May 10, the cover generated an enormous surge of talk on the Web, much of it negative. As the photo became a national trending topic on Twitter on Friday, the din ranged from tweets discussing the shocking, near-pornographic nature of the photo by some, and disgust at the concept from others.

Jarring though the photo may be, the story itself, however, is actually a profile of 70-year old Dr. Bill Sears, an "attachment parenting guru." Rick Stengel, Time's managing editor, explaining the cover, told Forbes magazine, "To me, the whole point of a magazine cover is to get your attention. From the moment that we started talking about this story as a cover possibility, it was like I couldn't get out of the meetings. There was so much opinion and passion about it, and discussion."

Grumet seemed surprised by her sudden fame, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Oh my gosh!" she posted on her Facebook page. "Aram and I are on the cover of @timemagazine." 

However, it was clear that Time knew exactly the sensation the cover would cause. On Friday it tweeted from @TIME: "You've seen the cover, but have you read the cover story by @katepickert? | ti.me/KVL4I6."

AdAge reports that Time said it sold more online subscriptions on May 10 than it did all of the week before. With such a bold—and arguably misleading—publicity move to create its own news cycle, Time has proven it's apt at both reporting and creating news. 

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