The April issue of Esquire includes an unusual ad buy from Fossil: a sponsored, 8-page mini-magazine about watches that's running not only in the United States edition but also in China, Hong Kong and Britain.
Many magazines publish or license local editions in dozens of countries around the world, but global ad sales remains the exception rather than the rule and usually coincide with special events or big magazine franchises when they do come. Most marketing money is controlled country-by-country, a publisher at another magazine explained, and most magazines aren't set up to execute international buys seamlessly.
The practice isn't uncommon, another executive said, but may have seen its heyday. "Worldwide buying is not nearly as popular as it was in the 90s when global decision-making was more centralized," the executive said, noting that he still packages multiple editions when appropriate. "It has become much more local in terms of the ad buyers. Even though there can be efficiencies from worldwide buys, localizing marketing decisions has other benefits based on relevance to that market. "
"We still have the global sales ability we have always had," the publisher added, "but less demand than back in the day."
In Fossil's case, the marketing message introducing a new Swiss collection travelled well enough that the brand could take advantage of Esquire's global reach, according to Tom Kennedy, exec VP. "We have stores around the world as well as distributors around the world," he said. "And secondly, with the internet age, the idea that you can break in one market -- it's over."
Multi-country buys are harder to execute than people imagine, said Jack Essig, senior VP, publishing director and chief revenue officer at Esquire, which is part of Hearst Magazines. "They don't happen that often," he said.
This one owed largely to the perseverance of executive account director Adam Dub, Mr. Essig added. "You can introduce people to the different individuals around the world but that's where it usually falls apart," he added. "He stuck with it."
Fossil's overall buy with Esquire -- including the mini-magazine but also standard print ad pages, web video and other elements -- reached into the seven figures. The various Esquire editions, of course, shared the revenue.