Mainstream magazines and newspapers have jazzed up their coverage of fashion as news, while TV networks have put style on par nearly equal to music and entertainment news.
Fresh entries such as Time Inc.'s now twice-annual Time Style & Design, a standalone special issue of Time, are clogging newsstands, with more special fashion issues appearing this month for Fashion Week in New York.
Beauty and fashion magazines themselves are now elbowing one another to become the preferred on-air fashion experts to content-hungry TV broadcasters, which are creating unprecedented opportunities for exposure for magazines and their advertisers. Conde Nast Publications' Glamour is finalizing a weekly TV show with NBC Enterprises, and Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S' Elle is in talks with TV executives about having its editors make regular appearances on fashion programs.
"We're definitely seeing more opportunities for TV exposure, but it's really more about our relationships with magazine beauty editors than about publishing [ad sales] relationships," says Jean Hoehn Zimmerman, exec VP for Chanel Fragrance, who also oversees Chanel's corporation advertising, which is handled in-house. WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, New York, handles media buying.
High-end designers and smaller apparel and cosmetics marketers still shy away from TV advertising (see sidebar). But a growing number of beauty marketers with small budgets, suitable for print, are finding their way onto TV through a back door provided by fashion magazines, which mention dozens of such brands each week in their growing roles on TV.
All magazine publishers hasten to point out the sacred line that exists between editorial and ad sales and the fact that buying an ad in a magazine doesn't guarantee on-air exposure. The magazines cooperate at no charge, and have no say in what is broadcast.
But publishers admit it is inevitable that many advertisers who cannot afford TV are getting more frequent mentions on the small screen these days, thanks to the heightened coverage of magazines' content.
"I have no control over what an editor chooses to talk about on TV, but the fact that we are a large magazine with a lot of advertisers means many are likely to be embraced by [TV coverage]," says Suzanne Grimes, VP-publisher of Conde Nast's Glamour, which claims to be the most visible fashion magazine on TV at the moment. Glamour `s deal with NBC would put the magazine's longtime "Dos and Don'ts" fashion advice column into a one-hour, daily TV format airing weekdays on NBC starting in 2004. At least six times a week, Glamour's editors appear on network and syndicated TV programs in scheduled appearances, says Ms. Grimes.
Having the editors of Hachette Filipacchi's Elle make regular appearances on network TV fashion programs would be "a new direction" for the magazine, says Barbara Friedmann, VP-marketing for the Elle Group. She adds that Elle is exploring co-sponsorship of a first-time TV special that might provide advertising tie-in opportunities for its advertisers.
`YM' gets face time
Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's YM has also been aggressively pursuing on-air opportunities for its editors since 2001, confirms Laura McEwen, YM 's publisher. In addition, the magazine has worked overtime to cement relationships with Viacom's MTV for an annual YM promotion and also with Fox Broadcasting Co.'s "American Idol," the reality TV series in which contestants compete to be the next pop star.
Last year two of YM 's biggest advertisers, Guess and Neutrogena Corp., made it onto "Idol" when the TV show's contestants visited a YM editor's "office," which happened to be stocked with props prominently touting the advertisers' names, Ms. McEwen says.
The prop exposure was an "unofficial bonus" for the advertisers and not part of a routine media buy. But YM's growing presence on a number of TV programs definitely enhances its overall relationships with advertisers, Ms. McEwen says.
Publishing industry insiders say we will soon see more "custom programming" on TV from magazines such as Conde Nast's Vogue, whose "Trend Watch" fashion-theme specials began airing last month on syndicated TV, complete with 30-second commercials sold by Vogue.
The 1-hour TV effort doesn't carry Vogue's name, which safeguards the magazine's upscale cachet, says VP-Publisher Tom Florio. But participating advertisers are touted in a corresponding "Trend Watch" section of the magazine, and Vogue helped some advertisers create the TV spots.
More than 70 million consumers are expected to see the program when it airs in June, Mr. Florio says. Advertisers so far include Guess, Chanel, Lacoste, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Clairol, Estee Lauder Cos.' Prescriptives and Mary Quant.
"Hair color is closely tied to fashion, and we want to be part of fashion coverage, so this makes a lot of sense for us," a P&G spokeswoman says of the brand's participation in "Trend Watch."
"Clairol is trying new things; we're going in new directions like this in media to guarantee exposure to more people," she says.
Fairchild Publications' Details is also exploring more TV opportunities like last year's partnership with New York's Metro TV that yielded on-screen exposure for five of its advertisers in a special summer fashion report that aired in June. No details are available about its next TV effort; advertisers from last year included apparel marketer Thomas Pink plus footwear marketers Cole Hahn and Via Spiga.
`glamour' gets pickup
Glamour says it's getting increasing pickup on local TV stations from its "satellite media tours" that its marketing staff creates on behalf of advertisers that pay for the service.
The magazine's editorial staff doesn't create the mini programs, which air in local markets according to demand, says Ms. Grimes.
Despite the great attraction to TV, fashion magazines continue to prove difficult as partners in joint marketing opportunities for cable networks, says Neil Baker, senior VP-advertising sales for E! Networks' Style Network. The cable net, which launched in 2001, currently reaches about 30 million homes.
"Although it looks on paper like a match made in heaven, fashion magazines are pursuing the same advertisers we are," Mr. Baker says, "and although many have come knocking, it's very difficult to work out the details of any partnership."