TASTE magazine – the risk issue?

Sumien Brink is risk-taker-in-chief of Woolworths TASTE magazine, and will soon be heading up New Media’s new book publishing division.

A food mag with no food on the cover… Here’s the story behind TASTE’s decision to disrupt the industry.

For the first time in its 12-year history TASTE magazine’s June 2015 issue has people rather than food on its cover. Food editor Abigail Donnelly, contributing editors Hannah Lewry and Phillippa Cheifitz, and regular contributor Siba Mtongana have replaced the traditional plate of delectable fare.

coverA little stressful? You could say so, says editor in chief Sumien Brink.

Not having food on the cover is a major risk – do you think it will sell?

I’m nervous! In fact I’m losing sleep, because food magazines always have food on the cover. But, it’s a disruptor. I think readers will be curious to see the people behind the stories and the recipes.

Was it planned or a happy accident?

We were shooting the cover feature in my new apartment in Cape Town city centre, and we planned a stop-motion video as the four of them each brought something to the table.

As we did the final shot, I said: ‘This looks like a Vanity Fair celeb shoot.’ The moment Phillippa leaned into Siba, I knew we had the shot.

Watch the video here.IV5A3125

It’s a departure for this market though…

Yes, but having four food experts working on one food magazine is something to brag about. They’re all very different food people with different specialities.

They all look so good together – is it for real?

IV5A2808Ok, we did a little retouching, but nothing major like putting a different head on a body! And they all really loved cooking together. It was incredible for me to see how helpful they were to each other – offering and sharing advice like a happy family. And they’re all madams in their own right!

I’m losing sleep, because food magazines always have food on the cover.

What was your client’s reaction to this departure from the norm?

We presented other covers as well, all plates of food, but Glenda [Philp, head of brand communications] loved it! It’s a brave move on her part. And for the first time, Woolworths has agreed that it can go on the plasma screens in store – there have never been people before.

Now it must just sell!


So help them out and go buy a copy!

What’s your take on taking risks with traditional print models? Have your say below.

Read more about Woolworths TASTE here.

Written by Adelle Horler

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