The Huffington Post’s Danny Shea has a post about The Atlantic using multiple city-specific covers to illustrate Richard Florida’s March 2009 essay How the Crash Will Reshape America.
Writes Mr. Shea:
The Atlantic is targeting these metro areas with separate covers specifically tailored to their newsstands — proclaiming, ‘New York Wins,’ ‘Chicago Wins,’ ‘San Francisco Wins’ and ‘Toronto Wins.’ The Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto covers will run in those markets, while the rest of the country (and New York) will carry the ‘New York Wins’ cover.
It’s a good idea—and one sure to generate some buzz—but the magazine better be careful lest they make the mistake Maxim made with its April 2002 issue, which used the same gimmick to tout the magazine’s "Greatest City on Earth" article. Multiple covers pushing Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, and Miami as the winner were accidentally shipped to the wrong cities causing some head-scratching. Then again, the issues did drop around April Fools’ Day, which might’ve been the point.
In 2002, Stephen Colvin, President of Dennis Publishing USA (which owned Maxim at the time) told I Want Media:
It was a great April’s Fool prank to coincide with the magazine being founded on April 1, 1997. It was planned as an article that would sell a lot of copies and be talked about, so from that perspective it was ‘PR friendly.’ Anything that creates debate — well, anything legal and moral — is a good thing. And Maxim got local radio jocks and journalists defending their cities, or debating why their city just sucks and needs to be improved. All of Maxim‘s fans got the joke, and we probably made some new friends and enemies as well. We often say people in this business take themselves too seriously — this prank definitely showed up both sides of the coin.