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Tailor Made ‘Zine

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The first issue of Pure, a new golfing magazine, profiled golfer Tom Lehman, spotlighted new equipment and offered tips on spotting knockoff clubs.

Pretty standard fare, except the articles shared the same focus: Taylor Made Golf Inc.

That isn’t surprising, since Pure is issued by Carlsbad-based Taylor Made, the first golf equipment firm to try its hand at custom publishing.

Loaded with features on Taylor Made endorsers and equipment, the magazine is distributed free to Taylor Made customers. The company hopes it will boost customer loyalty in what has become a highly competitive business.

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“It allows us to create a relationship with people,” said direct marketing manager Michael Kelly.

Companies have long used custom magazines to reach consumers. But the trend has exploded in recent years as firms as diverse as Microsoft Corp. and Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc. seek to avoid the advertising clutter of traditional magazines.

In the case of Taylor Made, the magazine is a vehicle to reach male, female, senior and junior golfers--a broader audience than typically targeted by a single ad.

“It is a print version of an infomercial,” said Ken Cohen of New York-based Run Publishing, the company that produces Pure for Taylor Made.

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That implies a certain bias, Cohen acknowledged.

“There are two sides to every story, but you are not going to get them here,” he said.

The lack of objectivity could put off some readers, experts say. Another question is whether golfers want another magazine.

“They might only be creating more printed waste material for their customers,” said Rick Barlow, president of Frequency Marketing Inc., based in Ohio.

But Taylor Made believes the magazine is gaining acceptance. A survey of 8,000 magazine recipients drew 2,000 responses. Asked to rate the magazine, they gave it a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. The biggest request: more golfing tips.

On another front, Pure is beginning to attract outside advertisers interested in Taylor Made’s high-income customers. The first issue had ads from Lehman sponsors Levi Strauss & Co. and Northwest Airlines Corp. The second issue, due out in April, will contain an ad for Barron’s, the Dow Jones & Co. financial publication.

Denise Gellene can be reach via fax at (213) 237-4440 or e-mail at denise.gellene@latimes.com

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

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Slicing the Market

The three top brands in the $1.2-billion golf club market accounted for more than half of 1995 sales, according to Golf Pro, a trade magazine.

Callaway: 30.4%

Cobra: 12.3%

Taylor Made: 11.9%

Karsten: 7.3%

Wilson: 5.8%

Northwestern: 5.8%

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Spauding/ Top Flite: 4.2%

Titleist: 4.2%

30 others: 18.1%


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