Conde Nast's 'Lucky' takes cinematic turn

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"It's nuts. It's totally nuts," said an approving Kim France, editor in chief of Conde Nast Publications' new shopping title Lucky, while watching the magazine's latest promotional effort-a 90-second movie trailer slated to hit theaters on March 28.

Titled "Cheryl & Me," the sardonic ad depicts the bizarre relationship a stylish young woman has with a mannequin, Cheryl, that she refuses to accept is not real. While the relationship-through which Cheryl survives numerous catastrophes-ends in betrayal, it ultimately leads

the young woman to pick up a copy of Lucky.

The scope of the campaign is unprecedented for Conde Nast. It includes TV spots in the top four markets and ongoing radio promotions for Lucky which places Ms. France on top morning talk shows in markets like New York, San Francisco and Detroit. Black Rocket, San Francisco, handles all creative and buying duties for the campaign, which is costing the publisher about $8 million.

At a party the magazine held for advertisers last September, Conde Nast CEO Steven T. Florio told attendees the company was investing $40 million to launch Lucky-which led Ms. France to preface her remarks by dryly noting "how relaxed" she felt every time she heard Mr. Florio say that.


The company needs to brand Lucky in this unusual way because of its focus and because of the tough newsstand environment it faces. "It's a magazine that lacks specific elements" to grab readers' gazes on newsstands, said James Truman, Conde Nast editorial director, "like celebrities on the cover and sex and relationship kinds of coverlines."

Black Rocket "got that we wanted to take the [hot air] out of fashion," albeit affectionately, said the black-clad Ms. France, whose ensemble ran from haute designer Prada (skirt) to more budget-minded brand Zara International (blouse). "It would have been all wrong to focus on the idea Lucky is for the professional shopper-that runs against everything we do."

The TV campaign will continue through April, according to Mr. Truman, and the radio component will run through October. At present, it hasn't yet been decided how long the trailer-a first for Conde Nast -will run.

The rate base for the magazine is 500,000, though Mr. Truman said circulation goals of 1 million or more would "make sense" for the title. Its first three issues of 2001 will run 147 ad pages, a figure the company said was "on target."

Lucky broke a longstanding Conde Nast tradition of non-negotiation on ad rates with its first two issues of 2001, offering advertisers a free page in the December 2000 holiday issue for every page bought in the February and March issues.

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