Rodale Hires Image Expert From L'Oreal

Douglas Toews' Makeover Plans for Organic Publisher

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Rodale hopes to beautify its own image with the help of L'Oreal's former chief image officer, Douglas Toews. The publishing company, whose self-stated mission is "to enable and inspire people to improve their lives and the world around them," hired Mr. Toews for the new position of senior VP-marketing communications and branding. Rodale wants Mr. Toews to give its brand a makeover. He spoke to MediaWorks about switching from the beauty biz to the publishing biz.
Douglas Toews
Douglas Toews

MediaWorks: How does your new position at Rodale relate to your previous positions running in-house creative agencies for L'Oreal and Coty and as creative director for McCann Erickson and other agencies?

Douglas Toews: I worked in the beauty business primarily for the last 20-some years. When Rodale called me, the more I thought about it, the more I saw Rodale as the future of the beauty business, in a funny way, since what it does really is nurture beautiful bodies, minds and a beautiful life. I worked in the image business, creating global images that sold beautiful products in a beautiful way, and it comes down to that Rodale liked my aesthetic and wanted someone from a different category to give them a new perspective on how they think of their brand as a publisher and a provider of information.

MediaWorks: What are you charged with as senior VP-marketing communications and branding?

Mr. Toews: I'm going to be taking Rodale properties and aggregating a corporate message for them to create an idea of Rodale and a higher profile that can be sold to the trade and to consumers.

MediaWorks: What is your biggest challenge to developing that corporate image for Rodale?

Mr. Toews: I've only been here a week, so I'm hardly an expert. But I think it's very do-able. Look at Organic Gardening, developed in 1942 [as Organic Farming & Gardening]. Rodale has been very prescient and futuristic about where the trends are going and it's a question of crystallizing that message and that it represents health, fitness and sustainability in a cool, modern way to make them very desirable to people around the world. Rodale hasn't put a lot of work into nurturing its overall brand profile, but its individual properties' profiles are very high.

MediaWorks: What makes you most excited about the Rodale gig?

Mr. Toews: It's something totally new and it will be incredibly fun to work on a brand where the product is content and what we sell and offer is information.
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