Monday, 1st June 2020

This Month's Magazine
Advertising Choices on the Costa del Sol The facts

Advertising Choices on the Costa del Sol The facts

A business on the Costa del Sol? Where to advertise can be a problem.

by Sebastián Polinares

The Costa del Sol is not an easy market to break into; first you must identify your consumer profile, and then it is important to decide how far on the Coast you have to reach to achieve the turnover you need to cover your costs and make a profit, essential if you need to advertise in magazines.

The Costa market is not large and, under the present economic climate, consumers are thinning out, reducing its size even further. This might explain why so many small businesses that need to rely on local consumers are actually closing down, whereas others that reach and cater for a wider area and advertise are still in business.

The two advertising media most used by businesses on the Costa are newspapers and magazines; there are other options however, as they are used to a lesser degree, I will describe them in a future article. The newspapers of the Costa, dailies apart, are the equivalent of what we know as the weekly, free, local papers. The difference is that they are not put through letter boxes, one has to look for them. It is only on the Costa that magazines are offered free of charge, relying entirely on advertising revenue.

Having identified the main media available, letÂ’s look at the difference between them before deciding whatÂ’s best for you. Newspapers are the traditional medium used by businesses, both big and small alike. Their main advantage is that, some rare exceptions apart, they normally have a large circulation and are available throughout the Costa del Sol, reaching a substantial number of people. They offer greater flexibility in deciding size and placement within the newspaper and they display your message four times each month. I am not including daily papers because they are national and have to be selected and paid for, somewhat limiting their market share on the Costa. The disadvantages are:

  • Ad space can be expensive plus the cost is weekly.
  • Your ad has to compete against the clutter of other advertisers, including ads run by supermarkets and department stores as well as those of your competitorsÂ’.
  • Poor photo reproduction limits creativity and image projection
  • Free papers are price-oriented; advertising works mainly when comparing prices.
  • A short shelf life, newspapers are usually read once and then discarded plus most people donÂ’t read all sections of the paper, so your advert may not even be seen.
  • You may be paying to send your message to a lot of people who will probably never be in the market to buy from you. And they are more readily picked up by a lower quality consumer as an alternative to paying for a daily.
  • It does not build brand awareness or create product demand.


Magazines are a more focused alternative to newspaper advertising. They allow you to reach highly targeted audiences as you can choose the one that caters for your specific audience or whose topics are of interest to your audience. This represents a high reader involvement and more attention will be paid to your advertisement. Better quality paper and print permit a far greater reproduction quality which is better suited for creating brand awareness and credibility of product. One of the most important advantages is that magazines have a long shelf life as people tend to keep them and pass them on to their friends and family.

The disadvantages are:

  • There is limited flexibility in terms of ad placement and format.
  • Long lead times mean that you have to make plans in advance
  • The slower lead time heightens the chance of your ad getting overtaken by events
  • Space and ad layout costs are higher

As far as the Costa del Sol is concerned, on the whole free weekly newspapers seem to be professionally managed and match the above description however, for some unknown reason, there seems to be a flooding of publications on the Costa describing themselves as
magazines, when in reality they are no more than little local rags.

This is most confusing especially to new businesses. They certainly do not match the above description and they can only be of use to advertisers whose goods and services are only of immediate local interest to British expatriate consumers (i.e.: coffee bars, local newsagents, etc). Some are no more than a collection of advertisements and their usefulness is limited to when one is looking for a specific service, thus providing an alternative to newspapers whose columns are more suited to this job. Their monthly frequency is surplus to requirement. Others, like some “Costa Directories”, who describe themselves as the best and the most talked about publication on Earth, practically copy “old hat” news from other media and publish it every two months at cut prices. This is of no use to anyone, let alone the fact you hardly ever see it around. It is of little surprise that they hide behind a mobile number and do not give an address.

Before deciding where to advertise because it is cheap, do not listen to gossip, look for the longest established publications, be your own judge, look and see who else is advertising to make sure you will reach your right type of consumer. But look overall, often these publications mislead with one or two false adverts. See if you notice a number of advertisers showing just mobile numbers and no address, they could be advertisers that other decent magazines turn away as they may be trading illegally and then consumers have no recourse.

What was that, Dell Boy? “No Vat, no guarantee...?” Yes, there is a crisis and most businesses are cutting costs in order to maintain a reasonable level of sales, however there is no such thing as a free meal. Professionally produced magazines are expensive to produce, by all means do try and barter on prices but when they offer ridiculous prices, it’s because you may be paying in some other way.

Such publications are losing the credibility of decent publications that have been doing a good job on the Costa for years.

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