PARK CITY, Utah — What do Glamour, Gwyneth Paltrow and a bunch of snow have in common? On the surface, not much. But all three came together at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The Oscar winner's directorial debut, the short film "Dealbreaker," was produced by Glamour and competed in the festival.
These days, all manner of magazine titles have expanded into full-blown multimedia machines. The era of simply hosting a party for an A-list cover girl is dated. Now, savvy marketing involves taking existing content or creating content based on the title's philosophy and channeling it into everything from television specials (like In Style's one-hour, prime time "In Style: Celebrity Weddings" on ABC and Country Living's "House of the Year" on the A&E channel), to series (Real Simple's new weekly show on PBS), to reality shows (Seventeen's "Miss Seventeen" skein on MTV, which chronicled the selection of this month's cover girl-scholarship winner), to satellite airwaves (Cosmopolitan is launching a radio station on the Sirius network next month; Martha Stewart and Maxim already have stations on Sirius). Still other titles, such as Esquire, have sponsored short-film competitions based on their editorial content. While these moving picture projects have yet to hit a cineplex near you, several could be well on their way.
"Magazines are shrines to gather together to worship in the name of a subject, but you've got to pass the collection plate to stay in the mix," said Michael Levine, a veteran Hollywood publicist and author of books including "A Branded World." "What they're doing is creating multimedia opportunities to pass the collection plate. If they don't, someone else is going to."
Up on the snowy slopes of Park City, Glamour publisher Bill Wackermann was trying to stay a step ahead. Where Glamour's marketing effort, christened "Reel Moments," differs from Esquire's "Reel Talent" or Marie Claire's "No More" contests, is that the magazine actually owns the five short films in the series, produced by Moxie Pictures. The funding came in large part from advertising partners on each film, brands from Nokia (for "Dealbreaker") to Elizabeth Arden and Bebe. The magazine itself gains by expanding its brand image into the film world.
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