The magazine industry had sincere, desperate hopes that Michelle Obama could be the next Princess Di, moving copies automatically with her smile. Not gonna happen. But following these simple Michelle Magazine Cover Rules can help:

Ad Age found that putting Michelle Obama on the cover has been a mixed bag in terms of newsstand sales. As you can see from our fancy graphic, some covers did give a big sales boost, while others tanked. The lessons:

  • Having a black readership helps: Essence and Ebony, win; New York mag (NILLAS), lose.
  • Having an old audience hurts: Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, More—all these magazines are read by over-the-hill people who have already passed the point when they would be excited by "glamor." Their desire is for soothing consistency. Give them Laura Bush.
  • Think of a good cover line, if it's not too much trouble: Just look at the LHJ cover. They got the freaking first couple on there, and the biggest eye-grabber is "Save money at the gas pump." Maybe play up that photo?
  • Pray: If the Obamas aren't going to save the magazine industry, what is?