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GENE POOL: Rock ’n’ roll progeny Alexandra Richards and Ben Taylor are the new faces of Lucky Brand jeans — but don’t look for them in any print ads this spring. In a telling omen of the economic difficulties facing both publishers and marketers, the Liz Claiborne Inc.-owned denim maker has eliminated its magazine ad budget this season. Instead, Lucky Brand is focusing on the Internet and store events to raise awareness for the brand.
The Michael Bernard-lensed images of Richards, who is the daughter of Rolling Stone Keith Richards and model Patti Hansen, and Taylor, the son of musicians James Taylor and Carly Simon, will go up on the Lucky Brand Web site when the campaign launches around Valentine’s Day. Apart from their celebrity genes, Taylor is a musician in his own right, and Richards is a DJ, model and fixture on Manhattan’s social scene. Photos, videos and biographies of the two will be sprinkled throughout the site, and the duo become part of the brand’s Lucky Few marketing theme — which began this past fall and features young creative talents from the worlds of art, music and social activism.
The new campaign will also go up in Lucky Brand’s 180 retail stores, which the company is placing a renewed focus on as a marketing tool. “We want to become the neighborhood jeans store again,” explained Kristin Patrick, vice president of global brand marketing at Lucky Brand. “Beginning this spring, we are going to have more events at our stores featuring local musicians and artists. And we’re going to do small things like have a bowl of water for dogs outside our door. We are such an optimistic brand, and we want that to show, because everyone could use a little optimism these days.”
While pooches may be satiated by Lucky Brand’s new marketing tactics, the company’s recent magazine partners are likely thirsty for ads. This past fall, the brand’s advertising buy included Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Details, In Style, Paper and Fader, among other titles. Patrick said the elimination of print this spring was likely temporary. “Magazines will always be relevant. We are just trying something new this season.”
— David Lipke
HEARST TAPS EDWARDS: Duncan Edwards has been named as the new president and chief executive officer of Hearst Magazines International, succeeding George Green, who has held the position since 1989. Edwards currently serves as the ceo of The National Magazine Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Hearst that publishes the British editions of titles such as Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan. Green and Duncan — who will relocate to New York from London — will share responsibilities during a transition period that ends June 30 and then Green will retire and become a consultant to the company. Green oversaw a substantial expansion of Hearst’s titles abroad, particularly Cosmopolitan, making the firm one of the more aggressive in forming joint ventures with overseas publishers to expand into new markets.
— Amy Wicks
UNBUNDLING THE SALES FORCE: Brant Publications group publisher Alan Katz has parted ways with the company after Brant eliminated his position and assigned individual publishers to its three titles — Interview, Art in America and The Magazine Antiques. Samantha Fennell, formerly associate publisher of Elle, was named publisher of Interview, Cynthia Zabel was named publisher of Art in America, and Jennifer Norton was promoted to publisher of The Magazine Antiques.
Katz left Brant Publications at the end of 2008 after his contract expired, according to the company. Katz joined Brant in March, and oversaw sales for the relaunch of the magazines, which included a redesign of Interview in September. “Alan came in and reorganized things, helped set up the various departments, and created some synergies between the magazines, but at this point we felt like the magazines needed individual publishers,” said Glenn O’Brien, Brant’s co-editorial director.
Though the September issue pulled in 142 ad pages, a 11 percent increase from the year before, the magazine still recorded a 27 percent decline in pages for 2008, at 656, as the recession dragged down advertising across most of print for the fourth quarter. Publishers Information Bureau reported this week that magazine ad pages dropped 17 percent in the fourth quarter alone, compared with the same period in 2007.
Fennell was a top consideration for the Interview job months before the reassignments were made, but she was unavailable — she spent the last six months fund-raising for the Obama campaign. Prior to that, she was associate publisher of Elle for nearly two years. Fennell also spent eight years at Condé Nast in various sales positions at Vogue and within the Condé Nast Media Group. She takes her new position Feb. 2.
At The Magazine Antiques, Norton was promoted after 11 years as advertising director, while Zabel was promoted to publisher from advertising director of Art in America. The other two Brant titles never had publishers, as both ad directors reported to former Brant Publications chief executive Sandra Brant and later to Katz. Both magazines also recently underwent redesigns.
— Stephanie D. Smith