BRAND MOVE BY CONDE NAST

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Corporate branding aimed at consumers and the media community will play a major role in Conde Nast Publications' much-delayed second leg of its ad campaign due out this fall.

And there will be stepped-up interest in reader research for new-media and traditional magazines under newly appointed VP-Market Research Steve Blacker, who last week replaced Eckart Guthe, now at the Magazine Publishers of America as director of research.

The branding campaign will precede the September 1996 relaunch of the company's original title, House & Garden, which will be formally flagged as Conde Nast's House & Garden, said company President Steve Florio.

"The idea is you will be able to go up to a newsstand and see 10 different magazines all branded with Conde Nast much as General Motors brands its cars," he said.

"I don't know if we will retrofit [the corporate name] onto every magazine, but certainly every new magazine we start will use it," he said.

Insiders say they expected that Bride's would be branded with the Conde Nast name, for instance, but a flagship title like Vogue would not.

Preliminary planning for the TV and print branding campaign is under way through Fallon McElligott Berlin, New York. Mr. Florio wouldn't disclose exact spending but said it would be in seven figures. In 1994, according to Competitive Media Reporting, Conde Nast spent $679,000 on corporate advertising.

The branding idea grew out of a publishers conference in January where reinforcement of the Conde Nast name was discussed. Another outgrowth of the meeting, designed to improve communications among Conde Nast publishers, was an upcoming joint national promotion between Vogue and GQ.

Mr. Blacker will be involved with the branding effort while focusing on syndicated research for traditional magazines as well as research for Conde Net, the new-media unit previously called Cyber Nast.

Mr. Blacker will report to both Exec VP Jack Kliger and Editorial Director James Truman. This is the first time the head of marketing research at Conde Nast reports to an editorial executive. Mr. Florio said Mr. Truman wanted more involvement in the research side.

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