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AD AGE SPECIAL REPORT;MAGAZINES;STRAINING TO GET NOTICE, PUBLISHERS EYE BIG BOARDS;OUTDOOR ADS A FAVORITE FOR MAGAZINES WITH A MESSAGE

By Published on .

Magazines, like their advertisers, are spending money in media to define their brand attributes.

Although Competitive Media Reporting says the amount publishers spent on measured-media advertising fell 11% last year to $127.9 million (see chart at right), major publishers loosened the purse strings for a few aggressive and highly visible campaigns to court readers and-more importantly-agency media buyers. That trend has led to ads appearing in not just trade titles but also more unusual locales, such as health spas.

FAN OF MEDIA ADS

"Used selectively, [media advertising] can create awareness, elaborate points of difference, and can strategically position a magazine," says Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines, a self-described "big believer in media advertising."

She points to Hearst's Cosmopolitan as a good example of advertising that has defined its title. The $1 million campaign, which features the tagline "Fun, fearless, female," along with a picture of a sassy Cosmo girl, launched in early summer in four cities.

The ads, from Lotus Minard Patton McIver, New York, ran in trade magazines, outdoor boards near agencies and on postcards in spas, clubs and restaurants. One 100-foot-by-40-foot board in Los Angeles listed a number that listeners can call to to hear the "Fun, fearless, female" song.

Donna Kalajian, publisher of Cosmopolitan, says the ads have differentiated the title, in the competitive women's magazine category. This first campaign since 1989 also has delivered a healthy circulation lift.

"We need to continue to invest and get our magazine out there," she says.

BROWN FETE

The magazine is also planning a two-month blitz later this year to celebrate Helen Gurley Brown's 31 years at Cosmo. The ads will run in newspapers and the trade press.

Town & Country also unveiled a campaign in late May to change its image as the book of '80s excess.

"We were feeling like we were the best-kept secret in the ad world," says Publisher Molly Schaefer.

The magazine believed the ads would entice advertisers by using the phrase "Ever so rich," as its tagline, playing on its every meaning the word could have except for the monetary one.

The ads, created by Lois/USA, New York, for an undisclosed budget, ran in the trades, The New York Times, and New York telephone kiosks near agencies. Ms. Schaefer says that although she's gotten a lot of positive feedback, it's difficult to name specific results of the campaign.

APPEAL TO ALL

"There's a lot more competition and you have to appeal to all parts of the formula for success," she says. "Even if it creates a subtle awareness among consumers and advertisers, then it's worth it."

Meredith Corp. continued its long-term brand campaign that markets the publishing company more than individual titles.

The ads, created by Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, San Francisco, run in trade magazines and feature b&w photos of active families with the tagline, "If it has to do with home and family, it has to be in Meredith."

"The ads were an articulation of what we stood for," says Bob Mate, VP-publishing director. "It was a logical fit for us."

Before the ads began running three years ago, Mr. Mate says focus groups showed that among the top 10 publishers, Meredith was one of the least well-known. He says the awareness level has risen dramatically since the ads began running.

HACHETTE TARGETS OUTDOOR

Hachette Filipacchi Magazines targeted outdoor venues for advertising three of its titles this year.

Elle and Mirabella ads ran on outdoor boards in major markets to support special fashion issues. George's conversion to monthly frequency was supported in July with boards in 12 cities. The title reaped so much free publicity during its fall launch advertising was limited.

"We see a minimum of a 10% lift in newsstand sales from our ads," says Margaret Carroll, Hachette's VP-financial operations, "and advertisers like to see Hachette supporting its titles." Hachette ads were created by boutique shop Hylen Sharp in Greenwich, Conn.

Conde Nast doled out $1 million for Vogue ads earlier this year. Created in-house, they ran on

New York buses and featured the tagline "See you in Vogue," followed by the name of a big-name advertiser, such as Gucci.

The company also plans an ad push for its spring 1997 launch of Conde Nast Sports for Women. Ads will be handled by Fallon McElligott Berlin, New York, which also handled the launch for House & Garden.

`SI,' `PEOPLE' PUSH

Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated and People also weighed in with advertising this year.

SI, traditionally a big user of consumer direct-response ads, continued its "Inside Track" eight-pager in trade books.

Alvaro Saralegui, general manager of SI, says that with paper prices up and agents down, titles have to compensate with marketing.

"Why shouldn't a magazine sell itself?" he says. "Anything that you're selling needs to remind people it's there and that they like it."

People continues its "People performs" trade campaign, which features advertiser and editorial success stories, tailored for the specific publication.

The ads, from Young & Rubicam, New York, have been running for two years.

The magazine also will support its year-end double issue with TV spots created by Grey Advertising, New York, which handles the title's consumer advertising. The title may also run a spot in for its November "Young Hollywood" issue.

WANTS CONSISTENCY

Publisher Nora McAnniff says she's committed to consistent advertising and is trying to hammer out a five-year plan. She estimates created notice with brash boards this past July. Working with a $2 million budget, the six-year-old title wanted to shift its national focus to a regional one. Executives there chose advertising as the way to go.

The series of boards advertised faux businesses, such as a topless traffic school and a Beverly Hills shopping camp, complete with a phone number for interested customers.

RED TAG FLAG

Two weeks later a red tag was added that read "Just testing. Buzz magazine. L.A.'s monthly reality check." Those who called the number got a recording that revealed the secret advertiser.

A similar "only in L.A." radio spot ran in conjunction with the boards, from Deutsch, Santa Monica, Calif.

"It's sort of daring," says Jenny Isaacson, the title's marketing director, "but it's solidly rooted in three major principles: Buzz is a magazine; it's for and about L.A.; and people can easily get it."

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