Welcome to the latest edition of Ad Age Publisher’s Brief, our roundup of news from the world of content producers across digital and print.
Bon Appétit is leveraging its low-key famous editors for a ‘perfect’ Thanksgiving video series
There’s something really endearing about the approach that Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit has taken with its November cover—which is actually a series of split-run covers featuring, well, the chins and arms and torsos of its in-house BA Test Kitchen staffers: Andy, Brad, Carla, Chris, Christina, Claire, Molly and Rick. (Along with, of course, a turkey dinner—because November = Thanksgiving.)
The members of the Test Kitchen crew do have last names (we think), but to Bon App’s 4.5 million YouTube subscribers, they’re Cher-like one-named wonders, and every viewer seems to be a partisan: “I feel like Claire dishes it out a lot but can’t take it, no pun intended,” per one recent comment on “Claire & Christina Try to Make the Perfect Thanksgiving Sides.” And “i love how christina is assertive in a way that’s still welcoming of new ideas. more of her on the show please :).”
Anyway, the November cover approach is very BA Test Kitchen-appropriate in that it puts the food front-and-center while subtly acknowledging that the Bon Appétit staffers behind the aprons have become low-key famous among a certain foodie set. Some day maybe we’ll get to see their entire faces on a Bon App cover.
Until then, there’s “Making Perfect,” a six-part video series about trying to rethink Thanksgiving dinner; “Thanksgiving Sides,” linked above, is the fourth episode (just posted yesterday) and two more are scheduled for release leading up to Turkey Day.
Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport tells Publisher’s Brief that “Making Perfect” was many months in the making (which you can tell from some of the warm-weather outdoor scenes that pop up here and there) and that “the biggest surprise was how relatively smoothly it all went.” He chalks that up to the fact that the on-camera stars are the actual “editors who develop the recipes for our biggest issue of the year.” What you see is really what you get with “Making Perfect.”
HuffPost unveiled a major redesign this week—what Joshua Benton of Harvard’s Nieman Lab calls “its biggest change since it chopped ‘The —ington —’ out of its name two and a half years ago.” In a letter to readers, Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen says the new look is meant to “showcase a wider variety of the stories we work hard to bring you every day”—in particular, human-interest/service-y stories “about what’s happening at your house: raising good kids, finding a therapist you can afford, managing your student debt. We know the day-to-day challenges of life are serious news too, and we are here to help.” That sensibility is signaled by HuffPost’s new tagline, “It’s personal.”
It’s also ... mobile. HuffPost is owned by wireless giant Verizon (which gained the site as part of its 2015 acquisition of AOL). Ad Age reached out to Polgreen to ask how the mobile-consumption factor played into the revamp. “At HuffPost, two-thirds of our current audience is on mobile,” she tells Publisher’s Brief, “and almost one-half of our mobile-app audience fall into our top three loyalist segments, meaning they are visiting us at least eight times each month, with many visiting even more often. With our redesign, we’re ensuring we’re finding ways to translate our people-first approach to our mobile and mobile-first users.”
Speaking of Verizon...
HuffPost’s corporate sibling Yahoo News (which, like HuffPost, lives under the Verizon Media division formerly known as Oath) just launched an XR (extended reality) experience today to accompany a story headlined “Rebuilding Paradise: A year after the Camp Fire, one couple finds healing in starting over.” You can get a sense of the XR experience through a video teaser embedded in the post, but you’ll need an iPhone (iPhone 8 and later with the latest version of iOS) and the Yahoo News app (that link will take you to the app’s page in the Apple App Store) to actually see it fully in action.
While Verizon Media’s 5G studio is using its own Yahoo News as an XR laboratory, it’s also partnered with news organizations out-of-house including the AP, NowThis, Reuters and Time. Stay tuned.
Taste of Home, the folksy foodie magazine and website from Reader’s Digest owner Trusted Media Brands, is formally launching a new digital brand called Bakeable tomorrow. The idea, per a TOH spokesperson, is to “build an active community of bakers through exclusive baking guides, recipes, newsletters, contests and challenges, and serve as a one-stop destination for tips, ingredients and ideas for holiday and everyday baking.”
The inspiration for the launch: the fact that Taste of Home gets 6.6 monthly unique visitors to its baking content alone. So ... time to leverage that, with help from Dole Food Company, which is supporting the kick-off as the exclusive launch sponsor.
Time is running out to get tickets to Ad Age Next: Publishing, the last Ad Age Next event of the year. This one is on Nov. 14 in Manhattan and the line-up of speakers, who will tackle the challenges faced by content-makers and the marketers that partner with them, include:
• Pam Wasserstein, CEO, New York Media (newly acquired by Vox)
• Nancy Weber, executive VP of marketing & integrated communications, Meredith
• Josh Stinchcomb, global chief revenue officer, The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s Group
• Jessica Pels, editor-in-chief, Cosmopolitan (Hearst Magazines)
• MoAna Luu, chief content and creative officer, Essence
• Margaret Low, president, AtlanticLive and senior VP, The Atlantic
• Nina Lassam, executive director of ad innovation, The New York Times
• Craig Kostelic, chief business officer of advertising revenue and global head of video sales, Condé Nast
• Scott Havens, global head of digital media and distribution, Bloomberg Media
• Jarrod Dicker, VP of commercial strategy, technology and development, The Washington Post
• Suzanne D’Amato, senior VP of brand, Food52
More details and tickets here.
Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit and Awards are this Sunday and Monday in New York City, and a few tickets are still available. This is the 29th year the magazine has recognized “the leaders and changemakers who are pushing the world forward for all of us”; 2019’s star-studded awards ceremony at Alice Tully Hall at Manhattan’s Lincoln Center will honor actress Charlize Theron, climate activist Greta Thunberg, soccer champ Megan Rapinoe, filmmaker Ava DuVernay and more. Sponsors include L’Oréal and Mercedes-Benz.
Hearst Magazines is expanding its subscription business with a box full of stuff for “tikes and tweens.” It’s called R&T Crew—“the Road & Track Car Club for Kids”—and it comes from the editors of that venerable auto-enthusiast magazine. A Hearst spokesperson tells Publisher’s Brief that the contents are designed to foster “a STEM approach to learning by exploring the ways science, tech, engineering and math both drive and are driven by the mobility industry through stories, games, puzzles, experiments and activities.” As for the actual stuff inside, the curated selection of goodies is still being decided on, but will likely include a miniature car to build and paint, car-print socks, automotive trading cards and more in the first edition, due out in January, as part of a six-times-a-year release schedule. The boxes work out to $40 per, or $37.50, depending on the subscription payment option selected.