Bloomberg Businessweek Ad Campaign Pitching Consumers on Personality

Latest Step on Path Intended to Restore Profitability

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One of the ads in Bloomberg Businessweek's campaign.
One of the ads in Bloomberg Businessweek's campaign.

Bloomberg Businessweek is starting a consumer ad campaign that 's meant to build on its recent progress by pitching readers on its personality, using ads arguing that the magazine is "Disruptive," "Charged," "Viral" and "Worldly." The ad buy will total $1.5 million in the near term and grow as the campaign continues, Bloomberg Businessweek said.

"To date we've been largely focused on describing the functional benefits of the magazine," said Paul Bascobert, president of Bloomberg Businessweek and head of business operations for Bloomberg Media Group, citing its 20% increase in editorial pages, for example, since Bloomberg bought the ailing magazine from McGraw-Hill in December 2009. "What we want to do more now is talk about who we are and to some extent create a more emotional connection with readers -- which is something all media companies should do."

"Businessweek under McGraw-Hill actually had a specific intention to not have a personality, as a strategic choice that I think one makes to keep the personality out of it," Mr. Bascobert added. "We believe we should approach the market with a sense of who we are."

The U.S. component of the campaign, which was created internally, will run starting this month in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Wired, New York and San Francisco magazines; in Acela trains and lounges, Metro North trains on Long Island, BART trains and shelters in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York and San Francisco ferries; and on golf courses in the New York and San Francisco areas. Initial international buys will focus on Hong Kong and London.

Businessweek reportedly lost as much as $60 million in 2009, and the rechristened Bloomberg Businessweek remains unprofitable, but it is on schedule to re-enter the black, according to Mr. Bascobert. "We're going to finish this year, even with some of the stress in the market over the last weeks and months, on track with our plan," he said.

Bloomberg eliminated about 25% of the magazine's 400 positions upon its acquisition and increased editorial partly by integrating existing editorial resources from elsewhere in Bloomberg. Ad pages this year through the Oct. 31 issue increased 21.7% over the equivalent period a year earlier, according to the Media Industry Newsletter, for a total thus far of 1,208.25. (It published one more issue in the period in 2011 than in 2010.) The magazine averaged paid circulation of 921,839 in the first half of this year, unchanged from a year earlier, as individually paid subscriptions grew 11.8% to 547,758 and newsstand sales fell 33.9% to 14,260, according to its reports with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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