The arrival of Toronto Life in the mailbox each month is something to look forward to, except for one thing: the ridiculous payload of advertising that comes with it. Now, we understand that magazines generally lose money on subscriptions, and Toronto Life‘s $24 annual fee is worth every penny, but we think that Toronto Life is starting to look more like Toronto Life Square.
Subscription card “blow-ins” and heavy-stock ad inserts are extremely unpopular with readers, but those snot-glued supplements are incredibly lucrative, with advertisers able to attach anything from promotional DVDs to shampoo samples. Obviously, this is incredibly disruptive to the reading experience unless the consumer sifts through the magazine before reading to shake out subscription cards and tear away thick, folded perfume strips. In the case of Toronto Life‘s December issue, the additional standalone advertising supplements are thicker than the actual magazine when piled side by side.
Packaged and mailed inside a plastic bag, the majority of the bulk comes from faux “magazines” like Vintages and Abode, which are impeccably-designed and printed on quality stock. Abode, for example, is laid out very intentionally to confuse consumers into thinking that it’s one of Toronto Life‘s useful monthly CityGuide magazines (which are also included in the subscription package). The LCBO’s expensive Vintages supplement features three pages of fold-outs—closing the thing is a Sisyphean task worthy only of those with the longest of fuses.
And then there are the magazine’s own stiff inserts, which are legion. Clearly, so many of them are required simply for your convenience—if you need one, why go hunting for the one that fell on the floor of your car when you can just find one in your bed or behind the toilet? Attempting to rip out the largest of these, which are cemented into the magazine’s binding, will cause the flimsy pages of Toronto Life to disintegrate unless you leave a hard strip that acts as a bookmark, demarcating the page in the back that you’re least interested in.
All magazines consist primarily of advertising (hello, Vanity Fair!), and we can live with the 147 pages of ads inside the December Toronto Life, but there becomes a point when we have to worry about our own sanity when attempting to dislodge Toronto Life‘s excessive package of cardboard supplements wedged solidly inside a tiny little mailbox. Not to mention the chiropractic health of our letter carriers! Enough.