Perhaps the single most-watched magazine of 2004 will be Hearst Corp.'s recently acquired Seventeen and its category-leading 2.1 million circ. I lunched at Michael's with the two tall women assigned to revitalize the onetime powerhouse, Editor Atoosa Rubenstein (she already has a kid cult following from running CosmoGirl) and Publisher Jayne Jamison, both six-footers, who paged through the January issue, Atoosa's first. She's already been interviewed by the Times, done the morning shows, flown to the Coast with Jayne, showing the mag's fresh look and talking about its cool but clean direction to clients and agencies. But why did it need changing? It lost focus, tried to coattail every kicky new trend, ended up confused. The new cover with Liv Tyler (who grew up on Seventeen), is clean, the inside sections are color-coded, some old faves are back: etiquette (yes, etiquette!), health & fitness, decorating. Plus such new features as "college life because even at 14 or 15, college is on their minds." Fashion/beauty pages may be the real winner (the "motorcycle look" cleverly doesn't show a bike but you get the idea), with "best bargains," the "$50 fix," and sensible price points, shoes for 16 bucks,and sizing info and retail store IDs. A little Lucky influence here? Teens think of themselves as young women, says Jayne, "Our reader is the `queen of fitting in.' We don't want to be ahead of the wave or behind the wave. We are the wave." She'll be lobbying boss Cathie Black for a spring trade ad effort: "Life begins at Seventeen." One other change: when it launched in 1944, Seventeen cost 15¢. Today, $3.99.
Quick, how long has ESPN been a part of our lives? It'll be a quarter century in '04 and Lee Ann Daly, senior VP-marketing, and Exec Editor John Walsh are planning a year-long hoopla called the "season of the fan," getting fans to talk sports. Toyota's tying in with 25 4 Runner SUVs fitted out as mobile production units to do the fan interviews.
Carol Campbell tells me that More's marathon date in Central Park is Sunday March 21.
Couple of years ago young, cropped-haired Dan Lagani was publisher of George, presiding over its demise. Today he's publisher of Better Homes & Gardens (rate base 7.6 million) that will wind up 2003 with the greatest ad year in its 82 years (2,100-plus pages). More on Dan and why Better Homes is so hot in my first column of the New Year.