GAP ATTACK: Gap Inc. has hired Chicago-based ad agency Leo Burnett USA as a strategic branding partner on its Gap and Banana Republic brands.

However, Gap ads will continue to be created by Laird + Partners, a New York ad agency that won the account last spring, while Banana Republic’s ads are produced in-house, said a Gap spokesman.

This story first appeared in the December 3, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Leo Burnett will conduct consumer research and further refine brand positioning and develop longer-term marketing strategies.

“I’m going out there next week. I’m still doing the creative as of right now. I’ve already shot spring,” said Trey Laird, president and executive creative director of Laird + Partners. “We’ve worked really hard on spring, and so far everything’s been really positive.” Laird noted that both the fall and holiday campaigns have gotten good feedback. “The Gap’s doing much better,” he added.

— L.L.

ROLLING FORWARD: Since Jann Wenner hired Bonnie Fuller as the editor of US Weekly, newsstand circulation of the magazine has soared 30 percent and the editor’s success has been heralded as the comeback of the year. But at Rolling Stone, Wenner Media’s other marquee title remaking itself under a new editor, the company is dealing with a more earthly sense of progress. While the magazine is not said to be tanking under new editor Ed Needham (for the record, the headhunters have not been called, the feelers have not gone out and there is no blood on the carpet), several industry sources said that since he came on board in July, it hasn’t been killing the competition either.

One high-level company source said the company has not yet seen a significant jump in Rolling Stone’s newsstand performance. Another said that while the magazine is not experiencing “the [circulation] lows” that some of former editor Bob Love’s issues produced, they’re also not seeing the highs either. “The official party line,” said the source, is that the readership has “stabilized” and that the company is in “a good position to rebuild the title.”

A Wenner spokesman seemed to acknowledge that there would not be a Fuller-like boost in the first six months of Needham’s tenure, but he denied that the company was disappointed with the magazine’s recent performance.

“We’re thrilled with the positive feedback from readers and advertisers under the changes from Ed Needham. His progress is right on target. Rolling Stone and US are two different properties with distinctly different audiences. It has never been designed as a newsstand play. It’s a 90 to 10 [subscriber to newsstand] ratio, whereas US is a 65 to 35,” the spokesman said.

But some in the industry think that’s just spin. “You don’t change the editor of a magazine because you want to be flat,” sniped an industry source. “And for every 18-year-old they hope to gain with a half-naked Christina Aguilera, there’s a 32-year-old who says ‘what are they doing?’”

Meanwhile, back at Needham’s former stomping ground FHM, owned by Emap USA, president and executive publisher Dana Fields is said to be taking a serious look at developing a music magazine of her own. The company owns Q, the too-cool-for-school British music magazine, and a company source said it’s eyeing a 2004 launch in the U.S. Fields declined to comment.

— Jacob Bernstein

VON ACKERMANN TO WALLPAPER: Wallpaper is getting a new roll call. Following the editorial shakeup at the Time Inc.-owned magazine earlier this year, the title has completed its team with the appointment of Marcus Von Ackermann, currently fashion director of U.K. Marie Claire, as editorial director, a new post. Von Ackermann will begin the job next month and will report to Wallpaper editor-in-chief Jeremy Langmead. Other newly appointed members of the Wallpaper team include Tony Chambers, Wallpaper’s creative director and formerly the art director of British GQ; Emma Moore, the new beauty and grooming director, formerly of The Sunday Times Style Magazine, and author Suzanne Trocmé, the new architecture and design editor.

— Samantha Conti

HODSON TO BAZAAR: Heather Hodson will join Harper’s Bazaar as senior editor, features, effective Jan. 2. She succeeds Jessica Green, who plans to move to Europe with her husband, Bill Buford, former fiction editor of The New Yorker, who is becoming its European correspondent.

Hodson was formerly New York editor of The Daily Telegraph Magazine in London. She has also held editorial positions at The Evening Standard and Harpers & Queen.

She reports to Kristina Stewart, former society editor of Vanity Fair, who has become executive editor and will oversee the features department.

— L.L.

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