BMW BRAKES PRINT ADS; HEAVIES UP ON TV

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BMW of North America will slash magazine spending this year to concentrate the bulk of its estimated $80 million media budget on TV support for its Summer Olympics sponsorship.

As a result, BMW will chop its roster of magazines from around 25 in 1995 to about 10 this year.

Hard hit by the pullback will be women's, epicurean and life-style titles, including Food & Wine, Gourmet, GQ, Men's Journal, The New Yorker, Vogue and Allure.

LIFESTYLE LOSES OUT

"We'll probably be supporting the buff titles and the business books heavily, but we'll be cutting lifestyle books," said Valerie Muller, exec VP at DeWitt Media, New York, media buyer for BMW ads created by Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis.

BMW has been winning raves for the slipping-penguin TV spot for its traction control system. In midspring, BMW will introduce a redesigned 5-Series with a $30 million to $35 million campaign running through the Olympics, where BMW will be the "official international automobile."

"We feel broadcast is a better medium in which to launch products," a BMW spokesman said.

DeWitt has been pressing magazines for more accountability over the past year, tracking such devices as responses to 800-numbers in ads, said Bob Burden, senior VP-account exec.

Travel & Leisure, which picked up about $400,000 from BMW for the first time last year and hung onto the business in 1996, had to go to some lengths to prove accountability. In copies going to 50,000 of its highest-income subscribers, the magazine offered a free leather suitcase as a test-drive incentive. In the end, 27 subscribers ended up buying a BMW.

`NOT A BAD RETURN'

Publisher Ed Kelly estimated BMW pulled in sales of $1.2 million on its $400,000 investment: "Not a bad return."

Among the other books that survived the cut: Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, Conde Nast Traveler, Vanity Fair, Departures and auto books including Car & Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine.

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