Revlon returns to Hearst after five-year feud

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Ads from cosmetic giant Revlon will once again appear in the pages of Hearst Magazines' titles after a five-year absence.

Both Redbook and Cosmopolitan will carry Revlon ads in their January issues. Ads for Almay products, a division of Revlon, will appear in the February issue of Marie Claire, said two executives familiar with the marketer's media plans.

It is anticipated that other Hearst women's books -- such as Harper's Bazaar -- will carry Revlon ads later in the year.


The cosmetic and personal care company pulled approximately $5 million in advertising from the publishing house in August 1994 after an article on Patricia Duff, Revlon Chairman Ron Perelman's then-girlfriend, appeared in Hearst's Esquire. Ms. Duff and Mr. Perelman later married, but divorced after a nearly three-year marriage.

At the time, Revlon insisted the pullout was due to a dispute over the positioning of its ads. A long-held publishing practice is to rotate competing advertisers through the prime ad positions of a magazine each month in order to be equitable, and Revlon objected to its rotation schedule.

But as the years passed and Hearst remained shut out by Revlon, it was widely accepted that the reason was Mr. Perelman's unhappiness with the Esquire piece.

The return of Revlon is a coup for Hearst Magazines President Cathleen Black, who took on that role in December 1995. Her savvy dealings with advertisers were a large part of the reason she was hired. Ms. Black, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment.


The timing of the win may prove awkward, given the recent changes in Revlon's top management team. Exactly who will control marketing decisions next year is still unclear.

Revlon CEO George Fellows resigned Nov. 2, and his replacement, Jeffrey Nugent, former worldwide president of Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena Corp., doesn't begin until this week. Kathy Dwyer, president of Revlon Consumer Products USA, resigned Dec. 1. She followed Joseph E. Heid, president of Revlon International, who left Nov. 17 to become president-CEO and chairman of apparel maker Esprit de Corp.

In 1998, Revlon spent $56.3 million in magazines out of its overall ad spending of $320.7 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting figures. While a hefty sum, Revlon still ranked well below competitors Estee Lauder Cos. and L'Oreal, which in the same year spent $80.4 million and $130.5 million in magazines, respectively. In the first half of 1999, Revlon spent $19.6 million in magazines, out of $68.9 million overall.

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