GSD&M takes home Wenner account

By Published on .

Even before GSD&M officially won the Wenner Media account, it had already completed a third of the assignment.

The Austin, Texas, agency last week beat out Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, and Mullen, Wenham, Mass., for the chance to create ads for Men's Journal, Rolling Stone and Us.

Wenner Media had asked the three shops to come up with a marketing plan to transform Us from a monthly to a weekly. Wenner executives were so taken with GSD&M's Us campaign they plan to use it as is next year when the magazine goes weekly.

"They bring the same quality to the work whether they're doing bar coasters or TV ads," said VP-Group Publisher John Berg. "We're hoping they help us move beyond trade ads and really become broader marketing partners."

Spending on the account has hovered between $3 million to $5 million, most of it in trade advertising. Now, with next year's planned launch of a weekly Us, the budget may swell to as much as $10 million.


"The primary mission of the consumer advertising will be to drive newsstand sales," Mr. Berg said. "The plan and positioning, and the specific advertising, from GSD&M gave us confidence that if we run it--which we will--it will have an incredible effect in the market."

In pitching the account and coming up with creative, GSD&M treated Us more like a product than a publication, said Alicia Kriese, the agency's director of business development. While declining to reveal details, she said one of its key findings was the significant value consumers place on celebrity news.


"We immersed ourselves in the lives of Us readers and found out how they view it and how much they really value it," she said. "The idea that we took to them--this is not the theme line or anything--is the thought that life is better with Us."

The next charge for the agency is to develop trade campaigns for Rolling Stone and Men's Journal.

The famed "Perception/Reality" campaign created by Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, for Rolling Stone will be replaced.

Wenner and Fallon parted ways in April.

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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