GM KEEPS CUTTING BACK: General Motors, traditionally the largest advertiser during the Academy Awards, spending $105 million during the past decade during the annual telecast, has dropped its sponsorship this year. According to TNS Media Intelligence, the Detroit automaker has had a continuous ad presence dating back to at least 1992. This year GM will be replaced by Audi and Hyundai. TNS Media also reports that ABC, which will air the telecast on Feb. 22, has cut its asking price for a 30-second spot to $1.4 million from the going rate of $1.7 million that has been garnered since 2006. If spots go for $1.4 million, total revenue is expected to be around $66 million to $68 million, down from $81 million last year. During the past nine years, top ad spenders were GM, American Express, PepsiCo, J.C. Penney Co., L’Oréal, MasterCard, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. A J.C. Penney spokeswoman said the company will again serve as the exclusive retail sponsor for the Academy Awards. Advertising isn’t the only category that is trending downward for the Oscars: so are TV ratings, which, in 2008, were 22 percent lower than 2007 and the smallest ever since Nielsen began measuring the show in 1967.
— Amy Wicks
HEART FULL: On Monday, over a very healthy lunch of salad, baked haddock and a miniscule portion of artichoke ravioli, a group of women gathered by Allure editor in chief Linda Wells and publicist Peggy Siegal met at the Plaza’s Oak Room to be introduced to an organization called Events of the Heart. Started by Pamela Serure and Carole Isenberg, the group aims to raise women’s awareness about heart disease through a combination of performance and informational outreach. “It’s like the ‘Angina Monologues,’” said Isenberg to a mix of laughter and groans from the crowd, which included Brooke Neidich, Vicky Ward and Portfolio editor in chief Joanne Lipman. After Serure spoke about her own experiences with triple bypass surgery, former news producer Abigail Pogrebin read a monologue about being a busy mom, at which many in the room, including mom-of-four Caryn Zucker, murmured appreciation. As Roz Davis Hurley sang a few solos in the paneled back room, Dr. Amanda Foreman chatted to fellow author Jennet Conant, and ordered Conant’s book straight from her iPhone.
Meanwhile, Wells said the beauty industry was surviving the economic downturn as well as can be expected, although even the so-called “Lipstick Index” effect wasn’t completely holding true. “The big companies are surviving,” she said. “It’s the $2,000 creams that are over — and there’s nothing special in them most of the time. In fact, I just cut one from a layout.”
— Elisa Lipsky-Karasz
O LOVES LIZ: Isaac Mizrahi’s entire spring collection for Liz Claiborne will make its debut in the March issue of O, The Oprah Magazine after getting a preview in Vogue. A spokeswoman for Liz Claiborne said the brand chose O because it reaches its demographic. In the issue, more than 50 pieces will be modeled by a mix of “real” women, models and celebrities, including Veronica Webb, Becki Newton of “Ugly Betty” and fashion icon Iris Barrel Apfel. The designer has included plus and petite sizes in his collection and has kept it budget conscious. To finish each look, Liz Claiborne is selling coordinated shoes, bags, jewelry and lingerie. “There’s a freedom to what Isaac does,” Webb told O. “He’s not a silhouette dictator — he knows that women have bodies that change.” The magazine hits newsstands on Feb. 17. The O feature will be followed by ones in upcoming months in Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook and Elle, as well as an ad campaign that will kick off in the spring issues of titles including Vogue, Glamour, Lucky, Bazaar and Elle.