Nearshore Americas

Men's Health Mag Gets 'Passion' Injection from Colombia

[Editor note: It’s turning in to “Media Week” here at Nearshore Americas. Keep the stories, rumors and ideas coming. – kirk@nextcoastmedia.com]
Men’s Health Magazine is, despite appearances, far more than just an outlet for smart ways to lose weight or lessons on how to become the world’s greatest lover. Men’s Health, a title owned by Rodale, is also in the serious business of providing innovative marketing programs to key advertisers who are constantly looking for the next big idea, says Men’s Health publisher, Jack Essig, who I interviewed this morning.
Essig raved about the genius performance he’s seen from a Colombia-based company called Zemoga, which he says is rewriting the book on dedication, passion and creativity in formulating digitally-based solutions for many of Men’s Health’s advertising customers. “They live and breathe the brands they are working on which is not always the case in this industry,” says Essig. Zemoga, which employs about 110 people in Colombia and the US, services  clients like Sears, HBO, ING, Yahoo, Viacom, A&E Television Networks, Toyota and Sony.
“They really filled a niche and a need we had with super innovative thinking,” says Essig, who personally visited the Bogota office and was awe-inspired by the work ethic.
With such effusive praise and the cynical desire as a journalist to find some “fault” in all of this jolliness, I pressed Essig for some kind of drawback – such as language, culture or even costs. He dismissed all of these potentially negatives one by one.
On language: “It’s never been a problem.”
On culture:It’s the passion that really makes the difference. They truly enjoy what they’re doing.”
On cost: “They’re a premium brand… they’ve helped us grow in a down economy.”
The other positive Essig threw in was the appeal of the similar time zone. “We could call them at 8 pm New York time and there is always someone there to talk to us.”
Men’s Health, like dozens of other magazine publishers, is frequently involved in supporting what have become known as “integrated media” solutions which allow the advertiser to seek a package of vehicles to relay a core marketing theme or message. They may rely on digital advertising, micro-websites, downloadable E-books or even web seminars or live events to reach their target buyer.
Integrated proposals are akin to the sort of work done by a traditional ad agency, but lines between digital publisher and creative agency are blurring. Often, media companies do not have the in-house bandwidth to accommodate request for proposals (RFPs) which sometimes need to be responded to within a couple of days.
Essig says on multiple occasions Zemoga has acted as if it were an actual part of Men’s Health by having discussions directly with Men’s Health’s clients.  “They absolutely get it.  It sounds so cliche but the innovation they bring to the table is unbelievable.”
Essig, like many of his colleagues in media, is under pressure to protect margins and stablize capex in one of the most turbulent times ever inthe US media industry, which has resulted in the decision by many companies to rely on offshore specialist to improve operating conditions.
“At the end of the day, it’s driven revenue for us,” Essig says. And as a result, Men’s Health can continue giving priceliness Guy Advice and 19 Ways to Lead a Stress Free Life. With my cynical journalist attitude, I better start praticing some of these tips!

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Kirk Laughlin

Kirk Laughlin is an award-winning editor and subject expert in information technology and offshore BPO/ contact center strategies.

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