Cross-leveraging: Alloy and 'Elle Girl' ink partnership

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Cataloger Aloy and teen title Elle Girl inked a multiyear partnership in a bid to leverage each other's audiences in the hotly competitive teen-girl niche.

The partnership-which does not involve money changing hands or ownership stakes in either relevant properties-will allow the sales forces for each entity to sell the other's properties. The deal also enables both Elle Girl-a Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. title-and Alloy to assemble cross-company packages across a broad range of media and marketing platforms.

Alloy publishes the catalogs Alloy and Delia's, both of which accept advertising. Its 360 Youth stages marketing events for Gen Y, including in-school programs. The company claims its catalogs reach more than 5 million teen girls a month.

"We can now go to a cosmetics manufacturer and they can run an ad in Elle Girl, they can run in the catalogs, do in-school promotions and database marketing," said Jack Kliger, Hachette's president-CEO.

`a lot to keep up with'

Elle Girl "having an expert on board" could help it break through the crowd, said Pam McNeely, senior VP-group media director at Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles. "A lot of areas you think are natural" for finding teens aren't, she said. Teen girls are much more likely to be found online gravitating toward chat sites over info on musical heartthrobs, she said, adding, "It's a lot to keep up with, and most marketers don't have the resources to do it."

The deal with Elle Girl, said Alloy CEO Matt Diamond, gives Alloy "the benefits of the reach and editorial voice of a magazine without actually developing a circulation department."

For Elle Girl, the deal could help it break through the clutter of a severely crowded category. Launched in `01, it published six issues in 2003. But its 397 ad pages trailed the category-even newcomer Teen Vogue, which also only published six issues in '03. Elle Girl's circulation, too, trails the rest of the category. Though its rate base will rise to 500,000 with its February-March issue, that's still smaller than the circulation figure of around 535,000 that Conde Nast Publications' Teen Vogue is expected to report for the second half of 2003. And Hearst Magazines' acquisition of Seventeen last year-a title that Hachette also bid for-gives that company a formidable inter-company ally to its Cosmopolitan offshoot CosmoGirl.

"We were trying to get a niche, teen fashion-oriented title. What that doesn't give us is scale that some other teen properties can claim," Mr. Kliger said. The Alloy deal allows Elle Girl, Mr. Kliger said, "to stay true to what we want of the magazine, but with a partner that provides the scale and media mix that is important to reaching teens today."

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