The story of Winx was compelling: a mighty thoroughbred racehorse with an incredible streak of 29 wins, including four successive Cox Plates, galloping imperiously into the pantheon of Australian sports legends.

But our glossy souvenir magazine, Winx, Simply the Best, wasn’t just a AUS$1.10 bet. In a digital age with multi-media saturation coverage of the great mare’s deeds, plus a couple of hardcover books, the magazine option looked a little stale at first — yet it was a stunning success.

News Corp subscribes to the notion that when a sporting moment is big enough — special enough — it can cut through, truly embedding itself into the national consciousness. Not since Phar Lap in the 1930s has there been such a thoroughbred racing story that commanded Australia’s attention.

So the challenge was to put together the right magazine model with commensurate content and marketing strategies for News Corp Australia masthead audiences. Winx, Simply the Best, proved successful because we were able to combine these three elements effectively.

A 52-page quality glossy, it sold for AUS$4.95 with newspaper in the Victorian, New South Wales, and South Australian markets. Winning her fourth Cox Plate was the crowning achievement, so it was important for the 60,000 copies to be on sale as quickly as possible. The tribute magazine was completed less than 24 hours after Winx saluted. Then it was printed, distributed, and available on the newsstands later the same week. 

Capitalising on Winx fanfare nationwide, News Corp Australia filled its commemorative glossy with beautiful photos and heartwarming stories.
Capitalising on Winx fanfare nationwide, News Corp Australia filled its commemorative glossy with beautiful photos and heartwarming stories.

It garnered plenty of front-page promotion, providing newspaper editors with something to help sell their product, generating hard-to-get circulation bumps. This was complemented by an integrated advertising and marketing campaign incorporating radio, digital, social, public relations, electronic direct mailers, and retail point of sale, in addition to prominent daily print and digital ad placement in the Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser.

The content strategy was to produce a simple accessible tribute to an Australian sporting icon, rather than to horse racing devotees. Winx, Simply the Best was deliberately photo driven, complemented by quality storytelling from News Corp journalists Andrew Rule and Ray Thomas, with both enjoying a “rails run” to write with authority and passion. Rule, who writes for Melbourne’s Herald Sun, is also the official Winx biographer, while Thomas has followed her story since day one as the chief racing writer for The Daily Telegraph in Sydney.

The magazine also featured stories from well-known sports journalists, The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, and Sky Sports radio’s Ray Thomas, as well as the Herald Sun’s Glenn McFarlane.

Winx, Simply the Best was well received, selling strongly and profitably in all markets, proving that quality magazines have a viable role when timing, opportunity, and execution are right. We are proud to produce special edition magazines of this quality to celebrate special moments in time, with remarkable people, places and brands. We’ll be looking for the next big moment.