Connect strategically with your market. Don’t place an ad.

Posted: February 25, 2014

Interior design magazines seem to be evading the tough economic reality of the print magazine industry. While motor vehicle, sporting, hobbyist and even fashion titles are under pressure to lure smaller and cheaper advertisers, editorial publications about beautiful living spaces are holding their own.

This is not completely unexpected. Immersing yourself in pages of design inspiration gives you a tangible storyboard of imagery that translates well with architects and builders. It says, “Here, this is what I want my dream home to look like.”

Readers also don’t read these types of magazines as such – they delve into them. Rather than poring over reams of ads at the beginning of the magazine, they skip daintily along until that first breathtaking double-page spread of pictorial wonder. The interior magazine is the grown-up woman’s dollhouse, where readers spend hours making up stories of their beautiful home and life ahead of them.

In choosing a magazine strategy to showcase Italtile Retail’s extensive designer range of tiles, ceramicware, taps and accessories, Blast adopted an editorial layout, in keeping with the magazine reading experience. Evolving from industry-standard, full page and double page ads, Italtile’s communication strategy has embraced the very reason why people read interior magazines: to lose themselves in beautiful editorial content. To do this, we consolidated the several ad spaces that Italtile used to take across leading South African magazine titles into a single editorial.

The six-page editorial is a ‘mini-mag’ within the publication, beginning with a masthead page and followed by editorial product snippets and latest product innovations. Because it’s a retailer, Italtile also includes a promotion, but it’s in keeping with the professional, designer approach.

This editorial captures the dreamy reader in a “live beautifully” mindset, and delivers product information in a reportage style.

Embracing publishing as the new advertising also prepares Italtile for the digital crossover. It’s advertising, but not as we all know it. As part of Italtile’s existing brand strategy, we’re pitching the message as being from the voice of the professional: the architect, the interior designer and the project manager. This induces confidence in the designer layperson who is about to embark on a design project where mistakes are costly. With Italtile’s editorial, the layperson takes expert advice from a design authority.

So can Italtile’s communication strategy of producing a mini-editorial magazine publication be successfully applied to any brand? Not always. This is because there’s a tendency for brands to believe that their true success lies in being the only brand that really matters. This is a fallacy. Italtile knows that it is part of the interior design process, stocking the latest, designer innovations in ceramicware that complement the overall designer lifestyle appeal. It’s rare that you would wake up in the morning and specifically think, “I just love beautifully designed toilets.” Rather, Italtile’s editorial adds value to the consumer’s overall designer vision. Strategically, it’s a more effective use of the medium.

Italtile Stylebook 1
Italtile Stylebook 2
Italtile Stylebook 3
For more information, contact Blast Brand Catalysts on 011 341 0994 or email or visit

For media queries, please contact Renee Schonborn on or 083 600 3121

About Blast Brand Catalysts

Established in 2001, Blast Brand Catalysts is a hybrid studio/agency that crosses the specialist disciplines of brand identity development and advertising. Design and advertising have dedicated skillsets and objectives. But working to a singular, longer-term strategic projection at the outset will factor market and media competitiveness as well as category differentiation. There is also an immediate, fluid transition from brand inception to activation.

Blast Brand Catalysts researches, strategises, designs, applies, implements, evolves and invigorates with proven, follow-through calibre. The tightly talented team gets it done, gets it done well, and gets the very next thing done even better.