Happy & Healthy: Taylor Swift, Halle Berry, Dr. Oz, Paula Dean and food

November 02, 2012

Walgreens debuts in-store magazine that raises the bar for store circulars.

This Sunday, Walgreens’ new twice a year magazine, Happy And Healthy, Your Guide To Living Well With Walgreens, will debut in store, as a newspaper insert and with both English and Spanish language versions. The nation’s largest drug chain is printing 67 million copies of the 28-page color glossy that contains helpful hints as well as interviews with these celebrities interwoven between product photos and prices for over 220 items, of which 53 are food or beverages, including highlighting their deLISH brand of ice cream on the cover at 2 pints for $5. The magazine is free.

Certainly food magazines are nothing new, nor are magazines produced by food retailers. What is different about this “magazine” is the design incorporating these super-celebs touting in some cases their own products (Taylor and Halle) with personal interviews like “Taylor Swift’s Perfect Christmas” and Paula Deen’s Diabetes Friendly Cooking Tips. Reviewing a prelaunch issue we at The Lempert Report are impressed with the way that Walgreens has used these celebs and made this publication read more like a weekly magazine than a store circular. One stand out is Rosa, who is Dominican, 60 years old and living with Type 2 diabetes, who takes us through her daily routine from 8am to 9pm sharing what she eats, how she tests, and what she is thinking. I care about Rosa, and that’s the secret to this effort. Happy And Healthy is human – even with the celebrity columns and interviews – and that reinforces that they really do care about their readers (customers) when it comes to health and wellness.

We have been critical of Walgreens Balance Rewards program and how complicated it appears to shoppers, Happy And Healthy also devotes enough space and good explanation that for these millions of readers we would expect the program to be easily embraced.

We’ve said it before, and say it again now. Every supermarket needs to be watching and learning from Walgreens. They are doing so much right when it comes to marrying foods with health and wellness it is easy to explain why they continue to gain share. And for those ad circular designers out there – don’t be shy…take a look it may well be time to build a better circular.