Brady's Bunch

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Better Homes & Gardens Publisher Dan Lagani admits the grand old (82 years) Meredith Corp. monthly doesn't make much fuss or generate tabloid headlines. So how does he explain their extraordinary 2003 (which he says is up more than 200 ad pages)? Several factors, says Lagani: Editor Karol Nickell, its huge audience, rate base 7.6 million and smart marketing (their new "Better Home/Better Living" campaign). Perhaps most important, says Dan, in times like these the magazine's focus is precisely where it should be, "The most important people and most important place in your life."

Dry martinis all around! The 21 Club is turning 75.

Scientific American's on a roll. Bruce Brandfon says they closed this year up 7% in ad pages and they're 32% ahead since 2001. Founded in 1845, it's owned currently by German publisher Holtzbrinck.

This new Paul Newman-A.E. Hotchner Doubleday book about their salad dressing marketing adventures for charity is a delight. "Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good." Hotch, currently working on a book about Elaine's fabulous saloon, is author of "Papa Hemingway."

Metropolitan Home (Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.) launched a new ad campaign to promote their May/ June "Design 100" issue, annually a big seller. Its ad pages are up 17%.

Child promoted Dave Mevorah to publisher. Ad pages for the Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing book are up since 2001 when Mevorah became associate publisher by 48%.

Walter Isaacson joined the board of Reader's Digest Assn.

Peter Bauer reminds me People magazine will be 30 years old in April 2004, and he and Managing Editor Martha Nelson have big plans. As a sidebar note, Rupert Murdoch launched what was called the National Star at the same time, and Rupert once told me (I was then editor of the Star) why People wouldn't make it. They would run out of individual cover subjects: How many times could they run Jackie? Or Liz Taylor? One of the rare wrong calls he ever made.

Steve Binder and Golf Digest strike back! In response to claims by Golf mag, Binder says their higher-priced paid subs are 9% ahead, newsstand sales are up 35% and total circ for the Digest is 1.566 million vs. 1.415 million for Golf. On 2003 ad pages, Digest sold 1,516 pages, Golf 1,394.

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