I have to confess. I used to be a complete magazine junky. They would flood my house every month and while my wife would be happily reading some big thick book full of text, I'd be combing through page after glorious glossy page. I whittled down over the years and now only get one - Wired. This has always been my favorite, and apart from some trade stuff, the only one I subscribe to at all.

That's why I was excited to see the July cover project. Wired got 5,000 subscribers to send in personal information including a photo. The resulting cover looked something like this:

Wired personal cover photo

The article is appropriate enough: "Google Maps Is Changing the Way We See the World", but from looking at several of the covers it appears they left one thing out. Marrying the Google Maps info to the person's address! I mean afterall, Reason was able to circle the person's house on a satellite photo. Why wouldn't the cover reflect the actual Google Maps address of the person getting it? Seems that would have been easy enough and a slam dunk in terms of true hyperlocation personalization.

The project - and this type of personalization in general - bring up some interesting questions of privacy and selective use of data. Because you can doesn't always mean you should. This and the much more impressive Reason magazine are great proofs of concept, though. The key will be getting good data and the accompanying permission to use it. The implication for the use of this technology is encouraging. Imagine the loyalty above and beyond the content of the magazine should it come in the mail with information customized to you. It'd be harder to recycle that baby. My boring Transformers cover was easy to toss. Now if I could just convince them to figure out I was a longstanding subscriber and I don't really need 15 cards falling out all over the place when I open my latest issue! Are inserters not part of the variable data mix yet? Sigh...

Alas, I didn't get a photo submitted in time so no custom collector Wired for me. But you can make your own here. Complete with a Google Map of your address if you'd like.

A bit more in the extended, including links to bloggers with custom covers!

Bloggers with custom covers:

My Curious Life


Ask A Copywriter

...there are more, but I'm busy. ;-) Check out this Flikr group for more covers.

Used in the project:

Xerox FreeFlow Digital Workflow
XMPie PersonalEffect
Xerox iGEN3 110 Digital Production Press
Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation