SHOPPING BY ANOTHER NAME: Lucky for Men is official — now stop calling it that. “I rather feel that ‘Lucky’ has a feminine resonance to it,” James Truman said. “I think we’ll probably come up with a new title.”
And Condé Nast will come up with it fast. Unlike the original or Teen Vogue, Lucky’s X-Y incarnation will be fast-tracked for a monthly schedule from the very beginning, according to Truman. The first issue is planned for the first half of 2004, and others should roll out from there. Before then, several key decisions regarding the age and affluence of its readers must be made. Will it highlight shirts, ties and suits, as GQ’s service pages do now, or will there be pages of trainers, T-shirts and jeans? “I think a man, perhaps more so than a woman, has a larger difference of what they buy at 22 and 35,” said Truman. “And I can’t give you an answer on that now.”
It also needs an editor, and Truman hasn’t interviewed anyone yet. “I need to take care of GQ first,” he said. Speaking of GQ, he has yet to finish the first round of interviews, and hasn’t added any more candidates to the magic number nine. “I think we’ll have an announcement at the end of March.”
Whoever lands the new Lucky gig won’t have Kim France or Andrea Linett — the original’s newly promoted creative director — looking over his shoulder. Despite the timing of Linett’s rise, she won’t have carte blanche to make suggestions. “We’ll be keeping them separate,” Truman said. — Greg Lindsay
A NEW MATH: Ad buyers can worry a little less about Enron-style accounting at magazines.
After a series of circulation mini-scandals by magazine companies that inflated their newsstand sales, the board of the Audit Bureau of Circulations gave first passage last week to a series of proposed changes to the way in which audited reports are presented. Should the changes be instituted in July, as is expected, audit reports will provide detailed breakdowns of how initial numbers submitted by the publishers deviate from what is found by the ABC.
In other words, it’s going to be a lot more damaging for publishers to lie than it is to tell the truth.
For example, under the old system, the audit report showed the overall variation over the six-month reporting period on rate base only. Now, deviation will be measured on a month-by-month basis, in newsstand and in subscriptions. That could have dramatic implications for the way fashion magazines report their numbers since they tend to sell much more heavily in March and September and have often, therefore, moved the numbers around from issue to issue to make the off-months look more vital.
The vote followed an emergency meeting in Chicago on February 20 that resulted from a string of newsstand overstatements at Dennis Publications and Gruner + Jahr, both of which were first reported in WWD. And Rosie O’ Donnell is currently contesting Gruner + Jahr’s lawsuit against her. She claims that G+J manipulated financial data for her magazine to prevent her from exercising an escape clause in her contract, which would have allowed her to walk if newsstand sales and revenue fell below a certain level. The situation at G+J reportedly has led some publishing executives to argue that G+J President Dan Brewster should be asked to step down from his side gig as the chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America. The MPA claims that isn’t happening, but no one should get too incensed — Brewster’s gig is up in October anyway. — Jacob Bernstein
WE ALMOST SPIT, TOO: This is not a real Puma ad. But maybe it should be.
The ad and its twin began popping up on Web logs last week. Depicting a kneeling girl, a boy and a glistening glob of something on her thigh, the images have a seemingly dubious pedigree. One site said they arrived from an agency in Europe, while another said they had already run in Brazilian Maxim (which makes sense, until you realize there is no Maxim in Brazil). Not that readers had much trouble swallowing it, especially in a season featuring trimmed Gs in magazines abroad.
Mission accomplished. But Puma’s agency of record, Gyro Worldwide, apparently isn’t that calculating or tasteless. A spokeswoman for the agency denied the ads were their work, and a Puma spokeswoman said the company was still investigating as to who the creator(s) was and, more important, whether they could be sued. — G.L.