In media-about-media terms, it's been an off-year for Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue franchise. The latest cover, the second in a row to star model Kate Upton, started getting official promotion on the "Late Show With David Letterman" last night, and the issue reaches newsstands today. Unfortunately for SI, which can usually count on endless coverage around Swimsuit, the cover first started floating around the internet on Saturday. While a sleepy Saturday can sometimes be a good day for a "leak," this past weekend the media and much of the U.S. population was, of course, otherwise occupied obsessing about the historic blizzard that hit the East Coast.
And then yesterday, Pope Benedict (soon to be known as "Ex-Benedict," as the joke making the rounds on Twitter goes) announced his resignation, inspiring plenty of boring, redundant blanket coverage from just about every major media outlet. For instance, today's cover of the New York Post, a tabloid that normally gives major play to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, lacks any mention of it; instead, the fully-clothed pope owns the front page. The tabloid loves scantily-clad ladies in general (e.g., the blond model on Sunday's cover showing off "Valentine Lingerie"), but perhaps out of respect to the pope, there's no sexy skin at all to be seen on the front page this morning -- not even in an inset or sidebar. (Hats off to the paper, though, for its classic-Post coverlines: "POPE GIVES GOD 2 WEEKS' NOTICE" and "I'M OUT OF HERE, GUYS!")
Meanwhile, Kate Upton is doing her part to steal attention back from the pope, doing plenty of interviews, including one with the Associated Press published this morning, in which she reveals that she is... still alive! (If you were expecting me to say "pregnant," sorry.) Her SI cover, it turns out, was shot in Antarctica in December. After the 10-day shoot, Upton tells the AP, she was "very, very sick. I don't think you can go to Antarctica and stand in a bikini without that happening. But I didn't die, and I'm OK now."
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.