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One of Medor's members putting up a poster in one of seven Belgian cities
How did they do it?
The Médor team wanted to make readers aware of investigations that had been published about issues (e.g hunting) or political figures of interest in their cities.
In 2018, Tiffany Lasserre, Médor communications lead, came up with the idea to use the bookshops that sell the quarterly magazine to help drive footfall and sales (the bookshops get 30% of each print magazine sold, so it’s in their interest to sell more copies)
Tiffany came up with the idea of story-specific posters that the bookshops could display in their windows to alert people to the stories. She worked with the graphic design collective Open Source Publishing to create seven posters about seven different local stories using Scribus, an open-source InDesign-like software.
Médor included a story about Emir Kir, the mayor of Saint-Josse, a municipality of Brussels, and his authoritarian style and ties with the Turkish AKP, as well as a story about illegal hunting in Ardennes. Other cities included Marche-en-Famenne, Libramont, Liège, Amay and three other cities in the Luxembourg province.
The bright-yellow posters were sent out to bookshops by the distributor of the magazine and a cycling delivery company. They were also displayed at newsstands, cultural centres and local shops that gave permission, and the posters highlighted all the shops where locals could buy the magazine from.
Five months after displaying the posters, data about how many magazines were sold is sent back to Médor and analysis is undertaken to understand the outcome of using the posters.
What did they learn?
For the data collected so far, shops promoted by posters have shown to have a small percentage uplift in sales compared to shops without posters. More analysis will be done this year to understand how much of this is down to the posters or other factors.
Collaborating with the magazine distributor worked well but using professional distributors next time would enable Médor to utilise their knowledge and place the posters in the places that would gain the most visibility.
Pitching the idea about the posters to bookshops proved useful to open up channels of communication with owners about the placement of the magazines and other possible promotions.
Feedback from the bookshop owners was often surprising. For example, one man in Brussels who reportedly had ties to the mayor saw the posters and asked the bookshop if they could take down the poster (they didn’t). Another went in and bought every magazine in the shop (the team thinks this was to prevent members of the public from reading it).
Some shops didn’t want to place the poster in their windows because they feared other magazines would ask for the same, and they did not want to be overwhelmed with requests.
The team is now planning to use the posters as a way to gather stories, rather than publicise them, by inviting locals to meet journalists in four cities on certain dates. They intend to try this in September as part of their Médor on Tour project.
In their own words
Tiffany Lasserre, communications executive, Médor
"We wanted to alert, provoke curiosity and induce readers to read the article in question which was related to the region where we posted the posters. And of course, make Médor known in a particular region where our readership is still small."
How would you improve it? "We could test the design more. At the moment, we use coloured sheets with black and white ink. We may also involve our readers in the distribution. That would be interesting."