NISSAN, COTY MOVES WORRY PUBLISHERS: ALTIMA ADS PULLED; FRAGRANCE MAKER MULLS OPTIONS

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Consumer magazines will be scrambling to find new business for the fourth quarter as Nissan Motor Corp. USA shifts dollars to TV, and fragrance marketer Coty tinkers with some media shifts on a brand-by-brand basis.

Nissan has canceled its estimated $15 million fourth-quarter consumer magazine buy for the launch of its newly redesigned Altima sedan, while the carmaker beefs up spot TV during the period. Altima had been the main focus of Nissan's print push during the period.

DEVISING AD PACKAGES

Coty, which spent $77 million in consumer magazines last year and $32 million in TV, according to Competitive Media Reporting, had magazine publishers hopping to put together marketing packages for individual brands (AA, Aug. 18). Christine Miller, VP-marketing at the Magazine Publishers of America, also was involved in talks with Coty to persuade the marketer to stay in magazines.

"Arthur [Sherwood, Coty VP-marketing] told me he was very pleased with the responses he had gotten from magazine companies prior to the brand reviews," Ms. Miller said.

Coty had earlier said it was considering shifting some ad spending to TV (AA, Aug 18).

But the company's current plan is not to cut print advertising in the fourth quarter, a Coty spokeswoman said, explaining, "We evaluate each brand on a stand-alone basis. Every brand will have its own mix of print vs. television and other forms of advertising based on market research."

She added: "It's a continuing process, though the mix can shift. But there's no big shift across the board and no cut overall."

Robert J. Geller & Associates, New York, handles media buying for Coty.

SKEPTICAL ABOUT COTY

Industry observers, however, remain skeptical about Coty's commitment to print, especially given that the fourth quarter is when 60% of fragrance sales occur and Coty is launching new scents.

Noted one media buyer: "Because of the volume of money they have to spend in the fourth quarter when 60% of fragrance sales are done, and because print is a slow build and because they are launching new fragrances, I would bet when the [CMR] fourth-quarter numbers come out, we'll find Coty moved more than 50% of its budget to TV."

NISSAN DEJA VU

Nissan's move is deja vu for consumer magazines. In February 1989, the carmaker canceled its $35 million-plus consumer print schedule for the rest of the year and shifted the print budget into additional spot TV.

Nissan rescheduled the late 1997 print buy, including six-page ads, for sometime next year, probably as late as spring, said Debra Sanchez Fair, corporate manager-brand public relations.

Nissan switched Altima's magazine buy to a "two-phased strategy" because the sedan's debut has gone so well, she said.

The carmaker sold about 2,500 1998 Altimas in August, meeting Nissan's sales goal. The sedan is crucial to Nissan, which hopes to sell 170,000 units annually.

Nissan doesn't plan to heavy up its first-quarter 1998 print budget. Several publishers said they were told that the late '97 schedules were being "postponed" until the first quarter.

Nissan is expected to spend $100 million advertising the 1998 Altima. Three spots from TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., will continue on spot and national TV.

Contributing: Pat Sloan.

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