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Foam revamps mag and revs up online play

By Tiffany Montgomery
September 11, 2008 6:22 AM

L to R: Foam Editor-in-Chief Kristina Dechter, professional surfer Rochelle Ballard and Foam Online Editor Christina Scannapiego.L to R: Foam Editor-in-Chief Kristina Dechter, professional surfer
Rochelle Ballard and Foam Online Editor Christina Scannapiego.

The second edition of the remade Foam Magazine is about to hit the streets soon. I've been working with the Foam team on a conference we're putting together Oct. 16 at The Camp to examine the future of the juniors market in the industry (more details to follow), so took the opportunity to ask them how the revamped Foam is doing and how the magazine has changed. They also told me about several new online initiatives that sound interesting.

Foam's print and digital circulation is 200,000 and Foam is planning to grow that number in 2009.

Editor-in-Chief Kristina Dechter and Associate Publisher Monica Campana answer questions about redesign.

Kristina Dechter

Foam MagazineHow is the revamped Foam different?
Graphically, we overhauled the magazine, starting with a new logo and font(s) to reflect a feminine, vintage-y, surf-y feel. We also created a photo lookbook to define the style of photography that would best reflect the beach lifestyle, while creating a cohesive look for the reader.

Content-wise, we shuffled the run of book to enhance the FOB (front-of-book) profiles, and newsy style and fashion tidbits; condensed the longer fashion stories; extended coverage of the music and art scene; and re-worked our travel features to make them service-oriented, while still aspirational. We also enlisted a terrific staff of contributing writers from within the action sports world, as well as from other fashion-based media outlets. The overall tone of voice is equal parts clever and intimate-like an older sister hipping you to new people, places and things.

Who is the target Foam reader?

Our target girls are anywhere from 14 to 30. That seems like a wide margin, but these days everything from music to style crosses over the age/taste line. It's kind of like the idea that 30 is the new 20, and teens are the new twenties, so therefore, everyone is a little bit of everything! I do think that everything we cover in the magazine fits within that range of girl - our price points are affordable when it comes to the clothes we show, the music we feature is cool without being too cool and alienating, and our overall vibe is reflective of the lifestyle of a girl anywhere in her mid teens to her late twenties.

How are you trying to reach her?

As a visual person, I would first say that the photography and creative concept decisions on the page (and in the preliminary stages, behind the lens) hits the right visceral chord; more concretely, the subjects that we choose and the way we talk to our readers speaks to their lifestyle. Foam is the magazine equivalent to what's in the coolest boutique, or the most indy record store.

How do you keep on top of what is relevant for your target reader?

We don't stop pounding the pavement (and the beaches for that matter) for ideas, people, places, style tips, news, and any other miscellaneous uncovered, interesting thing you can think of. We have a very creative and multi talented team here, and we keep our minds open to new ideas, trends and ways to reach our readers.

Monica Campana

Monica CampanaMonica Campana, left, with Monica Wise of L* Space

What has been the reaction from advertisers to the revamped Foam?

Advertisers have been impressed and involved. We seem to have met advertisers' demand for a high-quality book representative of, and coming from within our industries.

Is Foam targeting new distribution or advertising markets with its new look and content?

Foam is the marketing platform for brands and distribution channels that aim at messaging their image and product to an influential core endemic consumer. That being said, I feel it is every brand's goal to target the "it" girl(s), whether they are from our industry or not, as these are the girls that create the buzz and the desired demand for a brand. We will remain relevant to our core market, but in doing this we are already capturing the interest and attention of the mainstream. This authentic representation will naturally develop new advertising markets and distribution channels.

Prior to the relaunch, we worked to establish new core distribution channels for the magazine, which include all Active Ride Shops, Swell.com, Diane's Swim, and PacSun, among others. Our newsstand distributor is also opening new accounts all the time, and our subscriber file is seeing some great growth since the redesign. We also started to distribute the magazine online to over 150,000 girls each issue a couple months prior to the relaunch. Time on site on that page averages around 7 minutes, so we know girls are really engaging with the product and our advertiser's messaging.

Does Foam have any new online initiatives?

Foam launched a social community called PiperGirls.com, about a month ago, providing a networking space for girls interested in action sports and the related lifestyle. Additionally, FoamMagazine.com was redesigned, and is increasing its content value online to mirror what we do in print. We are also in the process of merging the email newsletter database of GirlsLearnToRide.com (a website our parent company owns) with FoamMagazine.com and Pipergirls.com, and we will launch a new email product combining content from all three platforms this fall to a large and influential audience.

We produce the "style" channel on PacSun.com, and we're launching a women's style channel within the Surfline.com site.

We've been busy online, and we're really growing our online universe at an accelerated pace. At the end of the day, our digital network will provide applicability and interest across a varied level of content seeking viewers.

Where do you anticipate future growth coming from - print or online? Our goal is to capture growth across both platforms, print and online. The tactile interaction provided through the print experience, especially with our premium paper, and oversized trim, is a necessary pleasure for women (maybe more so than men), and we will never abandon the joy we experience when interacting with our favorite magazine. Online will provide instant accessibility for up to the minute events, images, products, personalities etc.

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