Business magazines in right spot

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Given that business magazines built ad pages faster than any other magazine category through June, they don't need much of a boost from luxury advertising these days. But they're getting it anyway.

"It seems all the major luxury goods [retailers] are trying to connect with two different groups: Wall Street and new technology types on the West Coast," says Jim McCabe, publisher of Worth, which he says has seen luxury ad pages spike about 30% so far this year. "And they look to us as an entry point."

Judging from other business books' results, though, Worth is not the only entry point in town.

"This is our new-found category," says Mike Federle, publisher of Time Inc.'s Fortune, where luxury ad revenues have shot up 46.9% through its July issue.

This year new luxury advertisers in Fortune include clothier Giorgio Armani and diamond conglomerate DeBeers Consolidated Mines.

At Business Week, consumer advertising manager Bruce Kostic reported luxury pages through June were up 53%, and, as with many other business magazines, is substantially outpacing torrid overall gains.

Business Week is also seeking to broaden its luxury base with the debut of a "Serious Style" section in its Dec. 18 issue. "It's more lifestyle-oriented" than the main title, says Mr. Kostic. "Business people have weekends as well."

Should "Serious Style" be successful, Mr. Kostic says, Business Week advertisers could well see more of such sections.

But, John Frierson, president of the New York-based ad agency Frierson Mee & Kraft, which handles planning and buying for such labels as Chanel and Jil Sander, questions how effective a push from the business books toward style would ultimately be for his clients.

He understands "luxury travel and luxury vodka [advertising in the business category]." But he is not sure the category is a credible source for style. "The idea of `Let's advertise in the business books to reach rich guys in suits so they can buy baubles for their wives' " is rapidly outmoded.

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