Rat Rod Magazine Wins 2012 MMPA Innovator Award, Caps Groundbreaking Year

Father and son publication proves industry success with its trendsetting approach

SHAKOPEE, Minn., Nov. 7, 2012‚—Rat Rod Magazine wins a 2012 Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association (MMPA) Innovator Award, along with a Gold Level Excellence Award for cover design. The Innovator Award “recognizes companies that have successfully established and executed a new concept in the magazine publishing business,” according to the MMPA website.

Rat Rod is the only known newsstand title to individually number each copy – in an attempt to create collectible tracking and value, and a delivery method for reader registration and contests. Other innovative elements include the magazine’s high production and photographic quality, artistic design, and massive features sometimes spanning 12 pages or more. Rat Rod also boasts of an extremely low ad-to-content ratio, carrying around 5% advertising compared to an industry standard five times greater.

The most extreme form of innovative marketing comes each year when the Rat Rod staff builds a flagship rat rod and leads a caravan of rat rods across the country on what they call the Rat Rod Tour. The 2012 tour took the magazine caravan from Mahtowa, Minnesota, all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada, and back. Their route passed through the Rocky Mountains at 12,000 feet and ran along sections of historic Route 66 – totaling over 4500 miles and running through 13 states in 14 days. The 2013 Rat Rod Tour will follow historic Highway 61 along the Mississippi River all the way from Minnesota to Southern Louisiana. This hands-on approach puts the staff in contact with an estimated three million or more people each year.

Rat Rod Magazine’s creator, Steve Thaemert Jr., calls their marketing campaigns, “Epic. And a testament to the durability of rat rods themselves… and the resolve of rat rodders across the country.” Thaemert, who started the magazine with his father in 2010, attributes Rat Rod’s growth to timing and creative thinking. “The rat rod scene is red hot and continues to grow. We just happen to be right in the middle of it… and it helps to be a little bit crazy.”

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