PPA Scotland

'Outlander effect' creates unprecedented demand for Dumfries & Galloway Life

By PPA Scotland

26 Aug 2019

Scottish glossy magazine Dumfries & Galloway Life is in demand all over the world thanks to cover star Sam Heughan.

Within minutes of the September cover of Dumfries & Galloway Life being posted on the magazine's Facebook and Instagram pages (on August 13), messages started to come in from Outlander fans keen to know how they could get their hands on a copy.

Less than a week later, the circulation team had a waiting list of more than 500 people, with orders for single and multiple copies (one man wants 50), from all over the world. The majority of the requests are from the United States, but there are also orders from: Finland, Switzerland, Cyrpus, Netherlands, Germany, Malta, Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Russia and from across Scotland.

"It's all down to our September cover star Sam Heughan, who, it seems, has the most devoted, passionate - and persistent - fans in the world," says Dumfries & Galloway Life Editor Andrea Thompson. She has been fielding hundreds of messages from Sam fans (some call themselves Heughligans) all anxious to share how much they adore the actor, how they've fallen in love with world of Outlander, and how they really must have a copy of the magazine.

"As well as ordering the September issue, some have even taken out 12-month subscriptions because they're keen to know more about the region Sam Heughan grew up in, and they're interacting with our social media channels in a way we've never experienced before," she adds. The original post has now reached more than 44,400 people.

Sam Heughan, who plays hunky Highlander Jamie Fraser in Outlander (the historical time-travelling drama based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon and made for the American TV network Starz), was born in the Galloway village of Balmaclellan in 1980 and lived in the area until he was 12. He still has family in the region, including his uncle, Trevor Leat, the renowned willow sculptor famed for his dramatic creations for the Wickerman Festival.

"We've been trying to get an interview with Sam for a number of years and really hoped to get him when Outlander came to film in Dumfries & Galloway for season two [when Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill, was used as the Duke of Sandringham’s estate]," says Andrea.

"But it took until this summer, when Sam returned to his native Dumfries & Galloway to receive an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow Dumfries Campus, as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, that we got the chance. Chief Feature writer Anne Armstrong worked hard to secure the interview and loved meeting Sam. She produced two brilliant features."

The first piece, about Sam Heughan at the university graduation ceremony, was featured in the August issue. "We knew from reaction to that magazine that our September issue, with the full Sam interview, was going to be popular, but nothing could have prepared us for the demand from his adoring fans all over the world," says Andrea.

"We never imagined, when we included a piece in the feature about the 'Outlander effect' on Scotland, that it we would end up up being part of that. While we do have subscribers all over the world, it's great to get global traction in this way and also to introduce a whole new audience to the delights of Dumfries & Galloway."

Twice named best in Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway Life is a must for anyone who loves south west Scotland. Proud and passionate of this amazing region, it holds up a mirror to all that is good about Dumfries & Galloway and flies the flag for the region all over the world.

The regional monthly glossy was launched in September 2006 (originally as a bimonthly) and is regarded as a 'Dumfries & Galloway institution'.

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