Adages takes up arms against sea of troubles

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Eric Zinczenko, group publisher of Time4 Outdoors, which includes Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Shot Business, is taking the announcement that Time Inc. is looking to sell his unit in stride. In fact, he says, now that Field & Stream and Outdoor Life will be the flagship titles, the big kids in the little block of titles, "We're sort of looking forward to it." And the buzz around the offices? "Morale is actually pretty high," he said.

Of course, Adages could have pressed him further, but he was carrying a gun-a beautiful Caesar Guerini 28-gauge shotgun-at the time, and we do have limited supplies of courage. For our part, we were carrying a 20-gauge, but Eric, it turns out, is the better shot.

He'd invited Adages up to the Tamarack Preserve in Millbrook, N.Y., for a day of shooting. It had been over 15 years since we'd had a shotgun in our hands, so we were a little apprehensive. After all, our manhood was on the line. We'd be hanging with the nonmetrosexual Zinczenko brother. The one who was on track to be an NHL goalie before getting his ribs broken and his spleen crushed. The one who walked into a recruiting office after college to become a Navy SEAL (the spleen injury held him back). The one who publishes magazines in which the only skin products for men you'll see are camouflage face paint and insect repellent.

For the Men's Health fans (and Gawker readers), the sibling rivalry between Eric and David is of the standard variety, as is the protective urge the brothers feel for one another. One gets the impression that if it wouldn't turn into the predictably snarky media fiasco, Eric would like to have a word or two with both Gawker and Jon Stewart.

At any rate, Adages held our own during the clay-shooting festivities, partly due to the expert instruction of Tamarack's Bill Tracy, the sort of man who doesn't care if you're the publisher of the country's most popular outdoor titles, judging by the amount of grief he gave Eric for the dirty condition of that expensive shotgun. And while it's a cardinal rule that journalists pretend that PR people don't exist, we have to point out that Time4 Public Relations Manager Amanda McNally was also a good shot. And we're not just saying that because she had a gun in her hands.

Unilever flagged for taunting P&G

If Procter & Gamble Co.'s deodorant marketers weren't thinking about Unilever enough, they now have trash-talking Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson to remind them each week. In their house, as they say in the NFL.

Mr. Johnson is weighing in on Unilever's side through a deal with Degree deodorant. The flamboyant receiver long has used a checklist to show up defensive backs who can't cover him. Degree (with its trademark check) is now sponsoring the checklist in possibly the first branded trash talk. (Not counting 2004, when, in less formal arrangement, Mr. Johnson sent a case of P&G's Pepto-Bismol to the Cleveland Browns.)

Degree staged a rally with Mr. Johnson within eyeshot of P&G headquarters Sept. 15. It also bought two billboards in Cincinnati and is sponsoring Mr. Johnson's blog, ChadJohnson85.com.

"Who will cover Chad Johnson?" one billboard asks. Many media, apparently. The deal led to Degree references in Cincinnati newspapers and TV sportscasts, on CBS's Sept. 17 broadcast of the Bengals-Browns game, and in live interviews with Mr. Johnson on ESPN and ESPNews.

The program may be national, but the billboards and events are only in P&G's Cincinnati. "It's a coincidence," said Unilever's VP-North American Deodorant Kevin George after the rally, grinning, when Adages pointed to P&G headquarters in the background.

"Degree is for men who take risks," he said, citing the brand's selling line. "Who better than Chad Johnson? ... And we just like him."

And while the Browns let Johnson make seven catches and a touchdown, they also knocked his helmet off twice and gave him a concussion. Endorsing Degree is risky business.

We got your influencers right here

What do Bill Gates, George W. Bush, Ted Kennedy, Yo-Yo Ma, Sumner Redstone, Jill Abramson, Barack Obama, Margaret Atwood, James Blake and Natalie Portman have in common? If you said they're all Harvard graduates, you'd be wrong-Gates never graduated. But they are all on 02138 magazine's Harvard 100 list, which was released today and ranks the most influential Harvard attendees. Gates, by the way, is No. 1, with Bush No. 2. And while Al Gore is making a second career for himself as an amateur climatologist, he comes in at No. 20, 10 spots behind Bill O'Reilly and two spots behind Ned Lamont.

The list, of course, is designed to stir up debate and interest and, in turn, catch the eye of advertisers. But something tells us the demographic that will be reading this will go a long way in doing that. When we spoke to Publisher Meredith Kopit, she didn't want to admit that it was easy selling ads in a magazine targeted at Harvard grads, 85% of whom hold graduate degrees and who have a median household income of $200,000. But we imagine it doesn't make the job any harder.

Contributing: Jack Neff

Take a shot at kwheaton@crain.com
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