Does Sarah Jessica Parker’s face make you pick up a magazine? How many people will whip out their credit card at the mere sight of Lady Gaga?
Box Office power is one thing, but these days its also an annual tradition to look at who was the greatest power of celebrity – as measured by magazine sales.
True, the correlation of cover star to issues sold isn’t exactly scientific. Maybe you bought the February issue of Vanity Fair for its Kennedy retrospective and not because Justin Bieber was on the cover (we’d like to think so). As well as the appeal of the inside content, there’s also the quality of the cover. A great star can be made to look terrible; a cover can be cluttered and unappealing. An issue might also have a special offer or free product attached that helps make up the consumer’s mind.
But all that aside, if you track a particular star across multiple covers, across multiple months, you’re still bound to draw some interesting conclusions.
WWD reports that in 2011 Lady Gaga wasn’t the unwavering darling of the newsstands that she was in 2010. The report puts the low points down to the fact that Gaga wasn’t photographed as – well – Gaga. Makeup-free and almost unrecognisably natural on the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Lady Gaga brought the magazine’s third lowest sales of the year. When Gaga’d up, however, her issues sold just fine. Her March 2011 cover for Vogue (above) was the magazine’s second best seller of the year.
Other consistent successes were Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Aniston, and Heidi Klum – while Mila Kunis was the surprise newcomer to the top sellers list.
So who were the year’s celebrity failures?
Reese Witherspoon, Michelle Williams, Fergie, Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber all provoked below average sales when they graced 2011’s magazine covers.
So now the interesting question is, what is it about particular covers, and about particular celebrities, that makes them sell? What magazines, if any, did you buy this year and why?