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Walgreens Launches Bi-Annual Healthy Living Magazine

November 9, 2012

Walgreens announced the launch of "Happy And Healthy, Your Guide To Living Well With Walgreens," a bi-annual magazine focusing on healthy living tips, relevant offers and Balance Rewards loyalty program promotions. The book will also showcase its private brands.

Debuting Nov. 4 in English and Spanish, the premiere edition with country star Taylor Swift on the cover is holiday-themed and includes entertainment and gift ideas. Each issue is divided into three sections: Health and Wellness, Food and Beverage, and Beauty.

Highlights from the glossy, 28-page, Fall/Winter edition include:

  • Dr. Oz Healthy Holiday Travel Tips
  • Ask Your Pharmacist - Answers For Cough/Cold/Flu season
  • Diabetes Management Including Paula Deen's Cooking Tips
  • Introducing Ology
  • Taylor Swift's Perfect Christmas
  • Stocking Stuffers, Holiday Gifts and Entertaining Essentials
  • Beauty Advice Including An Interview With Halle Berry

The magazine will be inserted into Sunday newspapers and be available in-stores nationwide. An electronic version can be viewed online at Walgreens.com, and the total circulation is expected to reach approximately 65 million.

Mediapost noted that CVS in 2008 launched Great Healthy Magazine, a monthly distributed exclusively to CVS' top ExtraCare card members nationwide. The magazine, produced by Basic Media Group, carries advertising for both pharma and over-the-counter products.

In another approach, Whole Foods Markets in March 2012 launched Dark Rye, an online magazine that explores food, art, health and sustainable living through storytelling to promote the cultural ideologies of Whole Foods.

In an interview with Smart Planet, Jacob Ellenberg, a co-founder of Dark Rye, said that while traditional advertising approaches are still viable for many stores, "there is something unique happening now — an awakening occurring in terms of the role of corporations in society and their ability to give something back to the communities in which they operate."

He adds, "We're not selling potatoes. We're not selling a particular product. We're holding up the lifestyle that we value and putting our cultural values into something that is emotionally evocative and compelling."

Discussion Questions:

Does the health & wellness trend demand a greater level of communication from retailers through magazines, blogs and other media? Should the messages spread beyond health to sustainability, inspiration and cultural values?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

Should messages extend beyond health tips to a retailer's cultural values and principles for those in the health & wellness space?


Yes. This is a terrific first step for Walgreens as they reinforce their message of "happy and healthy." Certainly other retailers will look to replicate this value proposition -- it's something Boots has had very good success with.

Should it extend beyond health? Actually, if done right, it may not be necessary to "force" inspiration or cultural values onto readers. The message will be inherent in the communication.

As baby boomers continue to face the likelihood of chronic condition management, communication vehicles that build trust, provide genuine content, and reinforce the opportunity to live vitally with a chronic condition will create shopper loyalty.

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Dave Wendland, Vice President, Hamacher Resource Group

Americans, particularly the Baby Boomer population, want to enjoy healthy, productive lives for many years. In addition the obesity epidemic, particularly childhood obesity, has consumers and especially parents, seeking information on maintaining wellness for themselves as well as their families.

Therefore, the Walgreens and CVS health focused magazines make great sense for their positioning and target markets. Similarly, the Whole Foods publication reinforces its positioning. Care must be given to offering advice to consumers. Retailers need legitimacy before they have permission to enter any area of dialog.

As an aside, traditional food retailers should watch the CVS and Walgreens efforts closely. Why should food retailers surrender the health and wellness positions to drug stores? Also, not the perceived target market for Walgreens publication -- women, particularly younger women. Not only should traditional supermarkets be concerned. So should convenience stores as these drug chains position themselves as the C-Store of choice for women.

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Richard J. George, Ph.D., Professor of Food Marketing, Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph's University

We are in an era when so many new things have established beachheads in the marketplace that we feel we can't ignore any of them.

Retailers, therefore, do what they think they must do to stay in today's fast-paced, ever-evolving race. That includes communicating health and wellness messages as in the Walgreen effort -- providing they are also enhanced by already accepted factors such as popular celebrities. Such practices are an effort to blend present realities with new "hopes."

Gene Hoffman, President/CEO, Corporate Strategies International

I am on the pessimistic side of this discussion. These corporate "magazines" remind me of the not too distant past where companies sent out newsletters on a quarterly basis to let their customers and -- hopefully -- future customers, better known as prospects, know what they were doing. The drilled down truth was they were finding other ways to get their name in front of prospects without blatantly making sales calls too often. Maybe this is different. Time will prove it one way or the other.

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Ed Rosenbaum, CEO, The Customer Service Rainmaker, Rainmaker Solutions

As the baby boomers age and become more interested in health and wellness topics, the demand for reliable information will continue to grow. Retailers have the opportunity to step up to meet that need for quality information delivered in a digestible and entertaining format. Additionally, conventional wisdom dictates that adding another communication channel will drive incremental sales and brand awareness. So, yes, there is a demand for more communication. The next question is, what is the right communication vehicle -- magazine, blog or other? What will provide the highest ROI? These questions can be answered through Media Mix Modeling and other tracking/analysis methodologies. ROI can also be improved with appropriate segmentation and targeting.

Kurt Seemar, President, Analytic Marketing Innovations

Yes, health and wellness issues require new communication. There are many sources of information around these issues; this is an opportunity for the retailer to talk about the things that matter to their consumers. Decison making for many liestyle products takes place outside the aisle; busy people look for ideas and recommmendations to plan purchases. The magazine can help develop interest and to some extent, credibility as a resource for lifestyle wants and needs.

Anne Bieler, Sr. Associate, Packaging and Technology Integrated Solutions

Health/wellness retailers are no different than any other retailers in that they have fierce competition. Building a community through social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) in addition to traditional media like magazines. It's about creating value and staying in front of the customer.

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Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer, Shepard Presentations, LLC

Did Taylor's dancing squirrels come with her? Well, no matter; suffice it to say any "health and wellness" magazine in which Ms. Swift and Dr. Oz vie for attention gives up any chance of being taken seriously...or as anything other than an ad. And that's probably just as well; a business's goal is to sell what makes the most money, not necessarily what's "good" for people...there's a reason the term "conflict of interest" exists.


This is a new name for a Sunday supplement. Same item, different name. Walgreens needs to focus on the core of their business and better manage their stores, their product availability and their pricing. Out-of-stocks seem to be a serious issue, as does on-shelf merchandising, and competitive pricing. For Walgreens, they need to adapt to today's more aggressive, price sensitive consumer, or they will perish. Their misstep within their pharmacy accepting several key insurance companies has cost their business dearly. These types of issues they cannot afford to keep making mistakes with, since it only serves to alienate their core audience further.

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Kai Clarke, CEO, American Retail Consultants

Providing educative content be it in magazine, newsletter, blog-form, etc., has long been employed by organizations as a way to "give back." The key is that the organization make it a credible, journalistic offering and not a glorified advertorial. It seems like Walgreens is taking a serious editorial approach which will only boast readership.

Sandra Gudat, CEO, Customer Communications Group

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