Hearst insert links partners

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Specialty retailer Brookstone and Chrysler Group team up for a 12-page magazine insert hitting seven Hearst Magazines titles next month.

The insert is themed "Designed with you in mind," and touts Chrysler's goods as well as Brookstone's. The insert is evenly split between ad pages and advertorial. Chrysler's ad agency, Omnicom Group's PentaMark Worldwide, Troy, Mich., worked with Brookstone to create the insert, featuring product designers from both marketers. The effort was brainstormed and produced by Hearst, which brought Chrysler and then Brookstone to the project, executives said.

The cost of the overall program is believed to be in the seven-figure range. None of the executives linked to the deal would comment on its overall spending levels.

Business-reply cards offering consumers a $50 gift certificate in exchange for test-driving a Chrysler vehicle will be included in Hearst titles-Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, House Beautiful, and joint-venture books Marie Claire, SmartMoney, O, The Oprah Magazine and Talk-as well as 8 million Brookstone catalogs mailed during the fourth quarter. Total circulation of the Hearst titles is about 7.4 million.

Michael Clinton, Hearst Magazines' exec VP and chief marketing officer, said the gift certificates will be underwritten by Hearst and Chrysler. Gustavo Pena, director of marketing communications for Brookstone, said the marketer has sold the certificates at a discount for the promotion. While most of the print buy was covered under Hearst's existing agreement with the automaker, six of the ad pages in each insert represented "incremental" ad gains for the publisher, though Mr. Clinton refused to divulge their dollar value.

The advertorial pages show off design details on Chrysler cars, and find rough equivalents among Brookstone's portfolio, partnering shots, for instance, of headlights on Chrysler's PT Cruiser with a dual-beam Brookstone flashlight.

The magazines hit newsstands in mid-October. This deal represents the largest multi-title marketing effort Hearst will run in the second half of '01. PentaMark also created :15 TV spots touting Chrysler's design to break in October on A&E and the History Channel, both partially owned by Hearst Corp. The effort also includes online, direct mail and purchase promotions at both Chrysler and Brookstone retail sites. Chrysler will invite select owners to events at several Brookstone stores. Chrysler autos will appear in auto-related photos in Brookstone catalogs and touted in its store windows.

"Our objective is to drive showroom traffic and sales," said Dan Gliniecki, who as communications specialist for the Chrysler brand oversees customer relationship management.

Brookstone, based in Nashua, N.H., runs 240 stores in 38 states and traditionally relied upon its well-known catalog and store windows for promotional efforts, supported by occasional print ads-developed in-house-in local and national newspapers. Mr. Pena called the Hearst-Chrysler deal its largest marketing effort. "We expect we will see new customers," a Brookstone spokesman said. Historically, Brookstone has not advertised in Hearst titles.

Both marketers could use a boost. Chrysler's sales increased by 10.2% through August to 353,322 units vs. a year ago, according to Advertising Age sibling Automotive News. But the Chrysler Group, which includes Dodge and Jeep, is still trying to rebound from last year's losses. The unit of Germany's DaimlerChrysler AG posted a lower-than-expected second-quarter operating loss in July of $125 million.

Executives at the automaker said the results show Chrysler's turnaround is on track and that it's poised to break even next year.

Brookstone's most recent sales report showed same-store sales down 3.6% for its fiscal second quarter compared with the same period last year. Through August, the six Hearst magazines (excluding O-which did not begin publishing until spring 2000) saw ad pages drop 5.2%, according to Publishers Information Bureau.

Contributing: Alice Z. Cuneo

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