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Vanity Fair wants to take a select group of advertisers for a ride. Marketers that pledge to buy more ad pages this year will get free in-flights ads on United Airlines.

This summer, the Conde Nast Publications monthly will sponsor a two-minute promotional video on more than 5,300 United flights. In the video, Vanity Fair will interweave a montage of photos from the magazine with messages from advertisers. In between shots of the current issue, United Airlines passengers will see pitches for, say, Elizabeth Arden.

"We've tried to bring the magazine to life for the viewers and give them the same kind of experience they'd have if they were reading the magazine, where advertising is seamlessly integrated into the content," said Mitch Fox, VP-publisher.


Magazines are increasingly searching for ways to give advertisers more for their dollars. The video tie-in is an attempt by Vanity Fair to give advertisers an extra incentive.

Since Conde Nast has a policy against negotiating published rates, its titles must often develop added-value packages.

"It's their olive branch to say, 'We know we're a high ticket, however the high ticket can bring you a lot of added value,' " said Melissa Pordy, senior VP-director of print services for Zenith Media. "Instead of giving you a lower out-of-pocket, they turn to bells and whistles."

At the same time, the video allows Vanity Fair to promote itself to upscale business and leisure travelers. The magazine sells more single copies at airport newsstands than at any other venues, Mr. Fox said.

Vanity Fair advertisers that re-up for 1999 and agree to buy at least one page more than the year before (at $80,000 per page) will be given the option of a spot in the video.

Advertisers signed up so far are Beiersdorf, bluefly.com, David Yurman Designs, Elizabeth Arden, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Johnson & Johnson, Longines, Tourneau and Turner Classic Movies.


Vanity Fair will spend about $60,000 a month to run the video on domestic and international United flights, according to John Rohr, director of video services for Pace Communications, which handles production and ad sales for United's in-flight media.

Mr. Rohr said Vanity Fair was given a discount from the $83,800 sticker price for the monthlong two-minute videos because its production with photos of celebrities and models was less than a straight advertisement.

"It combines valuable program content as well as advertising," Mr. Rohr said.

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