Summer's just about here, but hemlines aren't the only things on the rise. During the first quarter of 2005, fashion magazines for both ladies and gents saw their ad revenues head north (see chart at right)-and with the fall fashion season just ahead, it looks like the trend can continue. Publishers generally agree that the big push has been from the continued strength of luxury brands-from cars to jewelry and beyond; an increase in retailer advertising; and the creation of fashion- and beauty-driven marketing campaigns for non-endemic categories like consumer electronics, food and beverage.
For the first four months of 2005, apparel and accessories spending across all magazines was up to more than $584 million, a 12% increase over the same period in 2004, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Toiletries and cosmetics spending rose 6.8% to nearly $553 million for the same period, and retail spending was up 13.4% to $389 million.
"In a rough economy there is a certain balancing act that women have to make in what they invest in," says Steve Greenberger, senior VP-director of print services for Publicis Groupe's Zenith Media, New York. "At the very least, you want to take care of yourself ... and treat yourself to a reward. ... It's sort of dovetailing on the men's side as well."
Across the titles, luxury advertising is providing a cushy bit of comfort. "Culturally we want what we want when we want it," says Nina Lawrence, new VP-publisher of Fairchild Publications' W. "If you brand it properly, consumers will buy [luxury items] at any price point."
In the first half of 2005, Conde Nast's Glamour picked up 46 pages more of prestige fashion ads than it ran during the same period in 2004, says VP-Publisher William Wackermann. Lynette Harrison, publisher of Time Inc.'s InStyle, says there's also been a "return of impact advertising. Until this year the sensibility has been about maintaining a presence and now it's about building image." Recent campaigns included heavier paper stock and butterfly gatefolds.
Men and women are also seeing new kinds of products pushed their way. Now grooming is all the rage for the guys, and women are getting a lot more attention from consumer electronics, financial products and automotive advertisers (see story on Page S-6). GQ VP-Publisher Peter Hunsinger says there's been a lot of activity in men's fragrance launches, extensions into skincare, and "basic morning regimen products." Over at Hearst Magazines, Esquire VP-Publisher Kevin O'Malley says the "proliferation" of men's grooming products has been one of biggest growth sectors for the title.
As for the push to sell consumer electronics and other nonendemic products through the pages of women's fashion magazines, VP-Publisher Nancy Berger Cardone of Conde Nast's Allure says many marketers are giving their campaigns a point-of-view makeover. Tylenol PM from Johnson & Johnson and Evian from Goupe Danone are both being marketed as beauty aids, she says, and the dolled-up mini iPod from Apple is as much a fashion accessory as a piece of technology. Allure's nonendemic advertising shot up 75% from 39 pages during the first half of 2004 to 69 pages during the same period this year. Similarly, Carol Smith, senior VP-publishing director of Elle at Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., says non-endemic ad growth is 20%.
Beauty was also the driver for a program conjured up by the Harper's Bazaar marketing team for the new Ford Mustang. "Mustang wants to reach women through nontraditional avenues," says Valerie Salembier, senior VP-publisher at Hearst's Harper's Bazaar. The program, "Driven by Color," pairs the Ford Motor Co. brand with an unlikely teammate: nail polish manufacturer OPI Products. OPI created three new nail polishes based on Mustang colors-Platinum in 0 to 60, You Make Me Vroom and Revved Up & Red-y-and the duo is running a six-page ad campaign to promote their products in Harper's as well as Marie Claire issues through August.
The fashion focus in consumer electronics is also helping the men's titles, says Chris Mitchell, VP-publisher at Fairchild's Details. Both the products and the campaigns have taken a distinctly fashionable turn.
Zenith's Mr. Greenberger sees the non-endemic connection as only natural. "More advertisers are realizing that fashion is of such personal interest to women. [Women] are purchasers of so many other things [so by buying into a fashion magazine advertisers] get them in a highly involved environment."
Publishers are taking "programs for endemic advertisers and modifying and opening them up to nonendemic [advertisers]," he says, "It's a win-win. There's more expansion of existing programs" than the creation of all-new programs.