How do you turn a tired 100-year-old-plus women's monthly into a hot ticket? Redbook Publisher Mary Morgan says you start by hiring a tiger like Editor Stacy Morrison (as they did a year ago) and turn her loose. I lunched at Michael's with both women and began by asking Stacy what she'd changed. "Everything and nothing," she said. Changes were made but not so startling to frighten readers, and she issued a new mission statement, "The married girl's guide to life." New emphasis on fashion, beauty, health, him and home, with plenty of food and some parenting, the various sections color coded, and lots of numbers: four weeks of ideas, seven steps to take before your next Pap test, 60 seconds with Bobby Brown, 20 minutes to a better body, etc. And Mary's emphasizing their younger average media age (43) against the 49 of some other Seven Sisters, with Redbook putting itself in a category with Real Simple, O and Martha Stewart Living. Stacy tells me women are marrying six years later (at 26) than they used to, and she targets X Girls (note the use of "girls") 28 to 39. Is it working? Year to date they're 22% ahead in ad pages over 2004 (a down year at 1,294 pages), and she says likely to top 2000 and 2003, their top years ever. Profits and revenue also up sharply, and circ holding steady at 2.4 million, which is "about where we want it," says Mary. And where did they find red-haired hotshot Stacy? She was last exec editor of Marie Claire, founding editor of One, a design mag that created buzz but ran out of steam, editor of Modern Bride where she made her bones, was in on the launch of Conde Nast Sports for Women, and worked at Time Out New York and Mirabella. She's married to software developer Chris Shannon, has a 2-year old, Zachary, and just rented a summer place in Amagansett's Dunes.
Sandow Media of Boca Raton, Fla., just launched Luxe, an oversized $6.95 shelter quarterly. It's on newsstands and was sent to "select homes and businesses across Colorado."
Smithsonian mag promoted Neal Charles to analyze research and stats for their sales team.
My old pal Ralph Lauren got a raise, up 47% to $19.4 million last year. Way to go, Ralphie.
Merger in the custom publishing biz, consultancy Netburn McGill and design group Flinchum. The result, CompassCustom Media.
Chicago's big PR firm GolinHarris, nearly 50 years in the biz and just having gone through a re-branding, is doing major promotion of itself. Chief marketing officer Ellen Ryan Mardiks is the one to talk to.
Guy Gilpin in London is reaching out to New York agencies (he already works with U.K. shops), adapting ad copy into various foreign languages. His outfit is Mother Tongue Writers on Harwood Road, phone 020-7371-0686. Worth checking out?
American Express Publishing Corp. named Jill S. Davison VP-corporate communications. She held similar responsibilities at Hachette Filipacchi and previously handled PR for Hearst.
Joe Hanley reports from the South of France that the late Bobby Short's chateau has a sign out front that reads simply, "Manhattan."