Hearst's campaign ad.


When magazine readers think about fashion, Hearst wants them to think about its titles. The New York-based publisher is rolling out an aggressive outdoor campaign for the September issues of four of its core fashion titles: Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire and Town & Country.

The campaign, dubbed “We Are Fashion,” will run for six weeks, starting Monday, and will include New York-centric billboards, airport signs, taxi tops, retail displays, video and signage in Hudson News locations across the country. Signs show the four covers of the aforementioned magazines, and the one-minute video takes viewers behind the scenes of the shoots found in the September issues.

Hearst Magazines president, marketing and publishing director Michael Clinton told WWD that the campaign represented a seven-figure investment for the company, but declined to be more specific. Clinton said part of the firm’s decision to roll out a campaign was linked to a realization, six months earlier, that it’s creating more fashion stories in print, digital and video than ever before.

“We said, ‘We now have more fashion content than any other media company and/or brands, so we should take the position of being leaders in fashion content,’ ” he said.

Granted, just two weeks ago, WWD learned that Hearst was tightening its budgets as fashion advertisers were cutting their spending on print. (And by no means is the pullback just affecting Hearst; rivals such as Condé Nast, Time Inc. and others are also feeling the sting.)

“It’s no big secret at the moment that the fashion retail marketplace is going through some transition,” Clinton said. “There are fewer tourists. There are fewer Chinese tourists. There’s less traffic in-store. Our business reflects their business. If they’re having some softness, we’ll have some softness, but we’ve been through this before.”

Hearst hopes to blunt some of the impact through broader incentives to advertisers across its portfolio, including the current initiative. It includes a New York-centric outdoor campaign of three billboards, as well as airport signs at JFK, Newark and LaGuardia. There will also be a trove of urban panels, signs on bus shelters, newsstands, phone kiosks and about 200 taxi tops. During New York Fashion Week, city buses with digital double-decker displays will also run Hearst’s ads.

At retail, there will be displays in Hudson News airport locations in New York, Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as in more than 400 stores nationally. About 250,000 Hudson News shopping bags will be branded with the Hearst campaign, which will also be featured in Gateway Newstands in 17 office buildings in New York.

The campaign will show its video before coming attractions on 58 Regal Cinema screens in the New York metro area. It will also sell a fall fashion case that includes the four copies of its September issues at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.com.

But as they say in TV infomercials, that’s not all. In order to boost brick-and-mortar sales, Hearst is taking a “Willy Wonka”-esque approach and placing five “golden tickets” in 100,000 copies found in New York metro newsstands. The five winners will receive a $1,000 shopping spree at Lord & Taylor.

And Hearst is taking the idea of editor as celebrity to a new level by offering B&N customers the chance to meet the editors of Elle, Marie Claire, T&C and Bazaar, who will actually sign copies of their magazines.

Elle editor in chief Robbie Myers will be at the B&N in TriBeCa, while Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia will be on hand in Union Square and T&C’s Stellene Volandes will be at the Upper East Side location. Bazaar is still working out a location for the event, as well as details on whether editor in chief Glenda Bailey will be able to do it, or if another editor from the magazine will serve as the draw.

Wrapping up his presentation, Clinton acknowledged the “challenges” of the print and retail businesses, concluding, “We’ve got to be a lot more innovative and creative with what we do with our newsstand partners.”

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