Time of Duty It might not be the magazine of choice for gamers, but Time is hoping to change that by doing what's never been done in the 88-year history of the storied publication.
It's using its cover to help promote a product. A video game, no less.
In an effort to drum up some love from the coveted 'young male' demographic, Time has helped create a mock cover to promote Activision's upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Featuring the splashy headline 'World Stands on the Brink' set against a war-torn Wall Street, the faux Time -- complete with iconic red border and nameplate -- is already confusing customers at Gamestop stores, where it appears as a double-sided poster.
"This is where the boys are," Kim Kelleher, Time's publisher, told the New York Times. "This is a great way to connect with millions of people we might not have otherwise connected with."
It's also a great way to dilute one of the most powerful brands in journalism, one might argue, if one weren't busy pre-ordering Modern Warfare 3. Do that, and you'll score the promotional poster as a pre-order bonus.
According to the NY Times, Time lent support in the art direction, but Activision created the image. Editors and execs signed off on it, likening the custom-built cover to their inclusion of fictitious characters in Time's vaunted 'Person of the Year' issues.
Commenters aren't exactly buying the tie-in.
"I'd be surprised if a single member of this valuable demo went out and bought a Time magazine after seeing this poster in a GameStop," noted one NY Times reader, while another groused that "this whole thing is consumerism and advertising at its worst, thinly veiled by the bogus guise of 'reaching an untapped demographic.'"
That demographic doesn't seem too thrilled, either, as readers of game sites chimed in with not-quite-ringing endorsements.
"I've lost a lot of respect for Time magazine," bemoaned one Gamespot commenter. "It's a news magazine, not an advertisement tool."
"Print media desperately grabbing for relevancy by selling out to a lowest common denominator blockbuster," summed up a reader of Giant Bomb. "This is gross."
One gamer, however, seem to get the gist of the promotion.
"I would love to have [the poster] as a collectable," writes Giant Bomb fan andyboy. "I just hope Time doesn't do this all the time with games and this is a one time thing."
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 hits stores in November.