Tess Alps Managing director PHD Bigtime
I know my media choice should be something electronic and innovative and
interactive. But an honest examination of which medium generates the
most overwhelming desire in me to immediately write out cheques forces
me to choose glossy gardening magazines.
Yes, paper and print, ancient technology and I love them.
I am not talking about any old gardening mags here of course. I mean the
exquisitely photographed, aspirational and sensual ones that are about
as far away from the leek-growing end of the market as Vogue is from
This approach to gardening can be summed-up as ‘World of Exteriors’ and
requires just as many hideously expensive props to bring it to life.
While it’s true that most magazine readers are as interested in the
advertising as the editorial, I can’t think of a better demonstration of
editorial bringing the advertising propositions to life.
As you reel in shock from seeing the the price of a hand-built cedar
gazebo with reclaimed clay tiles, you then see a spread featuring a
similar-aged structure in situ in a vast landscaped Herefordshire
garden, and the price suddenly seems eminently reasonable.
Probably because you think the beautiful Herefordshire garden comes
How could I ever have bought that tacky production line terracotta pot
from B&Q when what I really needed was a handmade pithos from Crete?
This effect extends to cover not just plants, tools and garden
paraphernalia but all the other ingredients which make up a gracious
lifestyle: furniture, clothing, cars.
Readers like me find themselves mentally dumping their existing cheap,
vulgar, mass-produced models, while sending off for brochures full of
the echt versions.
Perhaps I should admit these gardening mags would be the worst place in
the world to sell slug pellets. After all, slugs wouldn’t dare enter
gardens like these.
However, a mystery remains. These magazines are screaming out for a
category of advertising that is largely absent. Namely property ads.
Seeing other people’s rolling acres full of lush vegetation is the best
way to set me ringing the nearest estate agents to see if I can afford
to swap my humble corner of Kilburn for a more leafy pile.
So now you understand why, for me, reading glossy gardening mags is
about as expensive a pursuit as you get.