Personalized Printed Covers by ELLE

Elle magazine teamed up with their printer Quad/Graphics and global player HP to create 50,000 personalized covers with an outstanding offset-like quality to create a real attention attracting marketing campaign.

Not only since Coca Cola’s famous share a coke campaign, personalized products are an effective marketing tool. This April 50,000 subscribers of ELLE Magazine got a big surprise, as they received a special printed issue of their favourite magazine. Next to celebrity Kim Kardashian West, the editors published a personal note from her to the reader on the cover. “A personalized cover allows ELLE to connect with our readers in a completely different way, delivering a deeply personal experience, right to their homes,” says Nina Garcia, Editor in Chief.

Creating & Printing a Personalized Cover

The first step was to select the 50,000 names by using demographic and other user data to target the group as specific as possible to fans of Kim Kardashian West. Once the list was finished, the celebrity had to hand-write every letter of the alphabet to make it possible to create a custom font for the covers. Additionally she provided some personal sayings, so that the team would be able to print different greetings. The printing itself was a cooperation of ELLE, their printer Quad/Graphics  and HP, which provided ELLE with the HP Indigo 10000 for the best printing results.

This digital press has offset-like quality, which is important to get the same look and feel of the cover, while producing 50,000 individual versions. “Since each copy is personalized, this is an application that can only be printed digitally, and this is where the Indigo 10000 is at its best,” says Jacob Shamis, brand innovation manager at HP’s Graphics Solutions Business. Quad/Graphics itself has decades of experience and over the time the team did variable data printing for personalizing campaigns with more than 1 million pieces. Due to the innovative HP Indigo, they are now able to use variable printing in a full new range of quality.

The Power of Personalization

The prime goal of this campaign was not to gain more subscribers or to generate more sales. Rather, ELLE wanted to get in contact with their audience and to engage them to talk about the brand. As many costumers gave a very good response, shared their personal magazine on social media and even framed it to hand it on their wall, the campaign exactly did, what it should. This behaviour is underlined by recent studies, which found out that consumers are more likely to make a purchase, when a brand is tangible. Because of personalization applications like product recommendations on Amazon or movie suggestions on Netflix, the costumers have learned to expect some kind of personalization.

For the printing industry new and innovative applications of variable data printing enable a wide range of possibilities to address the costumer on a personal level. “We have taken that first step of putting your name on the cover,” says Jenna Blaha, ELLE’s technology editor. “But thinking of the future and the things we can do to provide better, more personalized content for readers — it’s really exciting stuff.”

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