View Full Version : Adverts in White Dwarf

01-08-2006, 01:34
Well it seems that a few times the point of adverts in the pages of the hallowed White Dwarf has been raised, and often along the lines of there being too many of them. I'd agree, I think there are. But a little experiment of sorts (more measurement I suppose) came to mind today. I decided to go through my collection of old White Dwarves, which dates back to about issue #201, and just have a look at how the number of adverts changed over the years.

Now even I am not clinically bored enough to go through every damn issue, and indeed, there are currently some gaps in my collection (can't find them I mean), so this is by no means a study of everything, nor does it cover things in an even spread. But generally I think the results I have give a fairly clear conclusion. I paid particularly close atention to the most recent ones, since they've come under closest scrutiny. Before I come onto the conclusions though, here the results are, with the number of pages I deemed adverts out of the total pages (not including inside covers) and then what percentage of the issue this was (rounding fractions to nearest whole number):

WD#201 = 44/128 = 34%
WD#202 = 38/112 = 34%
WD#205 = 36/128 = 28%
WD#211 = 42/110 = 38%
WD#215 = 42/128 = 33%
WD#218 = 34/128 = 27%
WD#229 = 38/112 = 34%
WD#230 = 31/120 = 26%
WD#232 = 32/112 = 29%
WD#238 = 30/112 = 27%
WD#245 = 41/124 = 33%
WD#248 = 42/128 = 33%
WD#251 = 38/128 = 30%
WD#258 = 32/120 = 27%
WD#270 = 31/112 = 28%
WD#280 = 36/128 = 28%
WD#285 = 31/128 = 24%
WD#300 = 28/208 = 13%
WD#307 = 33/144 = 23%
WD#312 = 38/144 = 26%
WD#314 = 31/144 = 22%
WD#315 = 42/144 = 29%
WD#317 = 44/128 = 34%
WD#318 = 50/128 = 39%
WD#319 = 34/104 = 33%
WD#320 = 59/128 = 46%

Three things stand out to me from these:

1.) The big #300 was shockingly low on ads. Yes, it did have many more pages than usual, but none of these seem to have become adverts. In fact, it's got the lowest number of adverts of all the issues I looked at period, not just in terms of score.

2.) The most recent issues gave me a surprise. Despite an awful lot of complaints about 319 being so high on ads, it actually represented a dip after 318, and 320 has seen the highest ad count and percentage of any White Dwarf. 46% was not something I expected, I didn't get that impression just from reading it, but I checked several times and indeed, nearly HALF the whole issue is advertisements, yet 319 seemed to get much more criticism for ads. I think part of that was just because it had the lowest overall page count (of the ones I looked at).

3.) The overall pattern. Or rather lack of it. Yes, the recent issues do, on the whole, have a greater number of ads, but really it's not that much. Many older issues equaled or even surpassed the much-slated #319. In truth there's really not much change over the 120 issue period, it pretty much stays consistent.

So all in all it appears that the number of adverts, thus far, really haven't increased that much in recent times.

Something I want to make absolutely 100% clear: I am NOT having a go at older issues, nor am I praising the more recent ones. This thread is not casting any sort of judgement on them whatsoever. The actual quality of what's in White Dwarf is something entirely different. All I'm giving here is some info I've come up with on adverts, since it seems to be an issue coming up a fair bit at the moment and I was interested to see how it panned out.

As for what I counted as adverts, some may disagree with me on it. But certainly in the older issues the advert count cannot really be disputed much, it's only in the more recent ones there are some grey areas, and in these I was strict rather than lenient, so they could only really get better. I'm also aware that in many cases there can be more subtle adverts, where articles are put in just as a way to advertise, but this was too vague and uncertain to count.

01-08-2006, 01:56
I graphed it..


What? I was bored.

01-08-2006, 05:38
I graphed it..


What? I was bored.

Hmmm, wow, well done Tudor.

Except....you're tempting me to try and do the lot now :p

*ponders spare time...*

01-08-2006, 06:14
I graphed it..

What? I was bored.

well done...heres a sticker...;)

Finn Sourscowl
01-08-2006, 08:44
Thanks Tymell for doing that, makes very interesting reading. One question: why did you leave the infamous GIANT issue out? I'm sure that must have been almost 100% advert.

Yarick Zan
01-08-2006, 08:48
well anytime GW focouses on a product of theirs its an advert. infact if you think about it the whole magazine is an advert for the products that GW makes. one could argue (and sucessfully too i bet) that all the dwarf really is is one big ad. now with that being said i think the giant issue had to by far be one of the most obvious "******* BUY ME NOW SO I MAKE MORE MONEY" things i have ever seen in a magazine.

01-08-2006, 08:52
That's it Yarick.

It's difficult. What one person will class as an advert, another won't. Technically almost everything in the magazine is an advert of their stuff - new release pages are adverts for new products, everything at the back is an advert for the bitz service, any picture of a mini is an advert of that mini, etc.

Yarick Zan
01-08-2006, 09:08
i guess one could even claim its an advert for paper if its just blank white pages.

The Judge
01-08-2006, 22:17
So what constitutes an advert? According to tymell, given he created this thread.

Some guy (UK)
01-08-2006, 22:32
To me- the new releases sections (at least in the past they had some TEXT to describe the models, their role in battle, some stats etc).

Pages such as 64 and 65 in WDUK 320, the ordering direct sections (starting page 98 in WD 320, ending page 102); the advance order sections.

The articles telling you how to put models together, such as the new sniper scouts, tau stealth teams etc (why have these when there are instuction sets- oh yeah crappy advertisments).

The Standard Bearer articles (patronising too).

Most battle reports (mainly new style ones, such as the one with the NEW Chaos Lord, and Captain Scurvy of the Ultramarines in :rolleyes: Plus the new shiney plastic buildings. Though often the older ones were, but at least they were a good read.

Well, I think that is it :rolleyes:

Wait, isn't that most of the mag? Dum Dum Dummmmmmm :eyebrows:

Later, Some Guy

01-08-2006, 23:47
To me there's a distinct feeling about certain adverts. It's not a nice feeling.

Some adverts are fine as they help people out and give ideas and inspiration. But it's those adverts (The ones I've noticed more of of late) that are just adverts, and ocasionally have a really bad article written around them to try and hide it.

The amount of adverts have risen, but they way the adverts are presented has become a lot, lot worse.

02-08-2006, 01:10
One question: why did you leave the infamous GIANT issue out? I'm sure that must have been almost 100% advert.

I know, Iím really sorry for that. I wanted to do that one, but just couldnít find it (and apart from using it for this thread, I really wasnít overly bothered at having lost it ;))

As far as classing as ads I used the new releases, the direct order sections, plain pages with boxed sets and their prices etc, the events (this and this happening at GW Kingston, etc) and the store finders.

My basic reasoning was that these pages donít really serve any purpose. While battle reports and standard bearer often do become adverts in a subtle (or not so subtle *cough*Jervis*cough*) way, they can at least prove interesting beyond that. A page of Space Marine vehicles with prices is something more akin to a catalgue than a magazine IMO.I know that counting the store finder and events pages may annoy some people, and I do apologise for that. If anyone else really doesnít like me having done that then I suggest doing your own version of this. Basically, to me, these are just not things to go in, and while they may not technically constitute advertising, the way I classified them was the same: you canít really read them as articles. The ones that were so big that you could (think there was one big double-page event at Nottingham, for example, with lots of pics and description) were counted as non-ads.

Itís hard to describe without opening myself up to lots of people saying I should have counted this, that and the other, and maybe theyíd be right. Essentially I just felt that the store finder and event pages didnít really serve any purpose in White Dwarf, and while some articles might be called boring, advertising in thinly veiled form, or just plain rubbish, parts like the store finder cannot really be termed articles at all.

I didnít count articles that might still clearly be adverts in very bad disguise because that would still be too much a grey area, since Iíd then have to go through considering each and every article and what purpose it serves. Essentially Iím too lazy for that :p

One thing to mention is that if you decide not to count the store finder pages, that would in fact make the more recent issues better, since it would increase their non-ad page count more than older issues.

Like I say, if that riles anyone then Iím sorry. Thatís just my take on it. :)

02-08-2006, 13:11
I think part of the difficulty is not only that the Tymel specified advertisements have risen, but that the hard sell factor in the remaining pages has increased dramatically. Old articles trhat used to have something called words have disapeared, becoming little more than pictures to advertise the latest product.

02-08-2006, 23:14
I think part of the difficulty is not only that the Tymel specified advertisements have risen, but that the hard sell factor in the remaining pages has increased dramatically. Old articles trhat used to have something called words have disapeared, becoming little more than pictures to advertise the latest product.

also you get the, (mainly anything that shows paint), "this was painted with a citadel fine detail brush" etc

so a lot of the articles have adverts in them

03-08-2006, 02:08
Aussie WD320 had some horrible ads such as as "Buy Tau Battlesuits." They aren't even presented well. They are cheap, lack imagination and are just a waste of a page.

Good advertising draws you in. GW's lame pathetic attempts make you just want to chuck the WD in the bin.

The Judge
03-08-2006, 11:36
The Battlesuit page is in the UK WD, and is a tad... awful. I can barely stomach them saying "Buy the Citadel Masters set" in every painting guide.

03-08-2006, 12:42
In my book *good* advertising gives you some information that is easily understood, up front and useful to know: So the catalogue page in the front of the magaine listing and showing new releases, their prices, their sculptor and date of release is just fine and dandy, and a welcome part of the package.

*Bad* advertising repeats itself ad-nauseam, doesn't tell you anything new (how many pre-release photographs of that God-awful butt-ugly Giant did we really need to see?), doesn't inform (how much more information do we *need* other than what the thing looks like and how much it costs? The rest is just filler - of course the employees of the manufacturer are not going to have publically accessible adverse opinions, so some random staffer saying TEH MODELS ROXXXRRRSSS BUY THEM NOW!!!111LOL!OMG!!! is redundant and irritating), and simply bores the reader into apathy (am I the only one that by the time they have seen the sneak-peek, seen a "coming next" article or six, seen the models promoted in a Bat Rep, seen them in a painting guide, seen them scattered in various pictures in the WD for each of the 6 months before they are released is thoroughly bored with them? Overexposure guys!! Tone it down!).

Now on that (admittedly personal and biased) assessment of what constitutes good and bad advertising, I reckon around 4 pages is "good" and the rest is simply an irritating and irrelevant waste of space telling me nothing I want to know and turning me violently against the company and their products to the extent I have cancelled my sub to the rag. Asking me to pay good money for a magazine chock-full of that kind of stuff is just a push too far...

Phew, feels good to get that off my chest.

Of course this isn't restricted to WD - I'm the sort of guy who would rather record a programme on the telly and watch it later so I can fast-fwd through the adverts... I'm pretty much anti over-intrusive advertising anyway as a matter of principle. Heck on a bad day I'd seriously consider firebombing the hoardings on my route home from work because I get irritated by them blocking the sky-line as well.... :) When it comes to consumer decisions I simply want to be presented with the information and be left alone to make my own mind up whether or not I want to buy. Putting more than minimal pressure on me makes me act against the pusher. Putting a *lot* of pressure on me risks physical violence... (not really j/k!)

Flame of Udun
03-08-2006, 13:08
Way back during the earlier WD's they actually had a box on the contents page listing all the ads in the mag, back in issue 180 there were 13 pages of adverts out of 67 in total (not including the mail order section at the back) that accounts for roughly 20% of the mag so really the ad percentage has only increased by about 12% where as the page count has almost doubled so in theory we should be getting more content. However it seems that the standard of content is not as good as back in the older issues which is where WD is falling down. Also, issue 300 is a statistical anomaly and skews the results since it was a special edition which had to include more content but did not require greater advertising to accompany the articles.