Now Playing: The Walrus

The Canadian general-interest magazine promotes new issues with film-style trailers - check the first one out.


Toronto-based general-interest magazine The Walrus has unveiled its latest marketing ploy: film-style trailers that promote each issue’s cover story. The first animated trailer features the battle of the Plains of Abraham. Though the video is narrated, font plays an important role in its style. ‘The whole concept of using type and fonts and words is just so lovely for people who love magazines,’ says Shelley Ambrose, co-publisher of the Walrus and executive director of the Walrus Foundation.

The idea is the brainchild of Ingenious Devices, a Toronto-based start-up who are doing the work pro bono. Ingenious Devices’ David Wallen, Greg Freir and Edd Baptista approached the Walrus with a trailer they’d created for the May cover story. That trailer ‘won’t see the light of day’ according to Ambrose due to the issue already having been on newsstands, but it did lead to the Plains of Abraham trailer and plans to do the same for each of the magazine’s upcoming issues. The next cover story to get the movie treatment will be the October issue’s cover story on environmentalism and how human ingenuity will save the day. The trailer will be launched on Sept. 14, the same day the issue hits newsstands.

The aim of the trailers is to ‘attract fresh readers to the Walrus and to sustain our existing audience by giving them a little bit of excitement about what’s coming next to their doorstep,’ Ambrose tells MiC. ‘It’s a marketing tool that will create a bit of a buzz. I think people that don’t even know the magazine will watch it.’

For now the Walrus is hoping that the video will spread virally, as they don’t have the money for a media buy. ‘We have no marketing budget and virtually no marketing department. We’re raising money for the magazine and the internship program so it’s not my priority to buy media time,’ says Ambrose. She does hope that the Walrus‘ media partners TVO and BNN, as well as independent theatres might run the spots for free. Ambrose is also hoping to find a corporate sponsor ‘so [Ingenious Devices] don’t have to work for free.’

Currently, the Walrus has a paid circulation of 60,000. Its website receives between 57,000 and 60,000 unique monthly visitors according to Google Analytics.