The first such section is a "Driver's Guide" featuring the retooled Mazda 626 and running in December issues of seven Hearst titles.
"This is the first time there has been a multi-title section of this size and scope at Hearst, and it is just the beginning of a number of major initiatives," said Michael Clinton, Hearst Magazines' new senior VP-chief marketing officer. Other categories that will be the focus of special sections include beauty, travel and package goods.
'DRIVER'S GUIDE' MODEL
"These are the kinds of programs we'll be working on for 1998 and beyond," said Mr. Clinton, who recently joined Hearst from a corporate sales post at Conde Nast Publications.
The "Driver's Guide" section represents the consumer print launch for the revamped Mazda 626, described by executives at Mazda Motor of America as the first model built exclusively for the American market and tailored to U.S. tastes. Other print ads will begin in January. Foote, Cone & Belding, Los Angeles, is the agency.
Mazda executives could not be reached for comment.
All ads and information in the 16-page "Driver's Guide" is devoted entirely to the Mazda 626, although subsequent guides will be open to other sponsors, said Lois Miller, director of the Hearst Group, western region, the publisher's in-house sales group.
The section will have a distribution of 12.6 million through Popular Mechanics, SmartMoney, Redbook, Harper's Ba-zaar, Victoria, House Beautiful and Marie Claire.
The Mazda package also includes a featured spot on PM Zone, Popular Mechanics' Web site; in addition, copies of the special section will be distributed to Mazda dealers.
In all, 16 million copies of the section were produced, said Mr. Clinton.
"We priced it as a whole program. We don't think of it as premium priced," said Ms. Miller.
Mazda paid its earned volume discount rate for the 112 pages, said Mr. Clinton, bringing the cost of the deal to more than $1 million.
The idea for the "Driver's Guide" grew out of research Hearst gathered when it tested a spinoff of Popular Mechanics' called CarSmart last year. Ms. Miller worked with Popular Mechanics Editor Joe Oldham for the test, which was discontinued.
"From that project, we knew what the needs and interests were of consumers that Mazda was targeting," Ms. Miller said, "so we came armed with that research to