By Published on .

Most journalists would give their writing hand for a peek at the personal Rolodex of Joe Armstrong.

Not only is it a veritable Who's Who from the ad world, it includes movers and shakers such as Liz Smith, Robin Williams, Barbara Walters and Peter Jennings.

Mr. Armstrong's marketing and media savvy has turned one of Meigher Communications' start-up magazines, gourmet title Saveur, into a fast-starting title projected to be profitable before the end of its third year-well ahead of the industry norm.

"We never positioned [it] as a food magazine," " the publications director says. "We positioned as a vehicle for advertisers to reach affluent baby boomers about their lifestyle passions."

Part of this positioning involves an upscale price point:

Ad revenues for Saveur and companion start-up Garden Design were a combined $250,000 in 1994 and are projected to hit $10 million by the close of 1996. Among the upscale advertisers are Rolex, Rolls-Royce, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany's.

"It's the advantage of being around 25 years and having people in the industry trust you," says Mr. Armstrong, 52.

Adding some ammunition to the pitch, American Society of Magazine Editors honored Saveur with two National Magazine Awards in April-the first time any magazine won two "Ellies" in its first year of eligibility.

Since 1972, Mr. Armstrong has spent his publishing career with various titles, including Family Weekly, Rolling Stone and New York.

In many ways, his task today is similar to the challenges he faced more than 20 years ago at Rolling Stone: convince Madison Avenue to pay attention to baby boomers.

"The same group that was into rock and roll music 20 years ago is now looking at food, travel, homes and vacation homes," he says.

Most Popular
In this article: