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A NEW TECHNIQUE: As if Vogue didn’t scoop up enough fashion advertising, it continues to reach for more via its very own in-house ad agency. No doubt raising the anxiety level of some long-standing agencies, Vogue Studio has already worked with 29 brands, including Valentino, Montblanc, Cartier and Lancôme, and is the agency of record for Via Spiga and Adrienne Vittadini. These brands can certainly bring their Vogue-created ads to other publications at, say, Time Inc. or Hearst Magazines, but the partnership is anchored in Vogue, said a spokeswoman. Terri Rawson, Via Spiga’s senior vice president of marketing, insisted there was no pressure to hire Vogue Studio, adding it was chosen over other agencies, "because they understood our consumer and brand so well."
The in-house agency is under publishing director Tom Florio. Deborah Cavanagh, associate publisher of creative services, said the approximately three-year-old agency competes with many big-name agencies for business and doesn’t offer discounts. Its connections to photographers such as Patrick Demarchelier and Arthur Elgort, who has had a relationship with Condé Nast for more than three decades, also help attract clients. "We can spot emerging trends in fashion and culture; clients come to us for that," Cavanagh added. And the agency — and magazine — will likely get a boost when brands see the results from the new VISTA Print Effectiveness report from Affinity, that studied 33 issues of Vogue and found that the magazine ranked number one for highest overall ad recall, among the 103 magazine titles measured. The study looked at advertising recall among readers with a household income of $75,000-plus from January 2005 through September 2007.
Cavanagh said that during the next few weeks, Vogue Studio will be busy shooting spring campaigns, including a new take on Via Spiga. Known for its shoes, Via Spiga wants the new campaign to focus more on lifestyle, incorporating accessories and coats. Elgort shot the ads a few weeks ago in New York and New Jersey. He said his aim was to capture "someone that looks not all-American, but maybe European, someone who looks like she’s going somewhere important." The ads will appear in the March issue of — surprise — Vogue.
— Amy Wicks
STEPPING OUT: Add jewelry to the growing list of style-related businesses that Kelly Killoren Bensimon is involved in. The former Elle Accessories editor and author of "The Bikini Book" recently launched her first full jewelry collection at Bloomingdale’s, Kelly for Kelly Killoren Bensimon. And she plans to expand into select Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Scoop boutiques early next year. "At Elle Accessories, I was exposed to all this amazing jewelry but it was hard to find a good price point," she said. The collection, which ranges in price from $80 to $280, was inspired by looking through countless archives, including those at Condé Nast. "This isn’t a one-time thing; I’m going to expand the line next year," added Killoren Bensimon.
SARKO SPOTTING: French President Nicolas Sarkozy was apparently photographed with ex-model and songstress Carla Bruni this weekend at Disneyland Paris. News of the pair — coming just two months after Sarkozy’s divorce from Cecilia and following some other recent, though less ballyhooed rumors — made a huge splash. Le Figaro newspaper teased it on page one Monday with a pic of Bruni and a headline reading "Carla Bruni, the President’s Girlfriend." Liberation gave the story full-page play. Other press has picked up on the news as well, and it is expected the couple’s image will blitz covers of numerous French magazines this week.
— Jennifer Weil
BEAUTY REGIMEN: Beauty advertisers will soon have another women’s title pitching hard for their ad dollars. With more cosmetics available at the drugstore to brighten, tighten and beautify your face, Woman’s Day is increasing its focus on beauty beyond a few product picks per issue among its core food, home and family themes. "We’re focusing on the quality of the information," said editor in chief Jane Chesnutt. "We want the stories to be more than a pretty picture and product information. We want the connective tissue of what you do with this product and why it matters — the how-to information Woman’s Day is known for." So Chesnutt, who oversaw a redesign of the title during the summer, and lifestyle director Davida Sidrane will increase beauty pages in the magazine by about 30 percent and will introduce in March a new section dedicated to style. The magazine has also hired a dedicated beauty editor, Melissa Matthews, where previously one editor covered both beauty and fashion. On the business side, publisher Carlos Lamadrid noted that Melanie Dennis was promoted to beauty director, where she will focus on the beauty and fashion categories. Chesnutt said her readers are primarily interested in subjects like hair color and antiaging, but lipsticks, mascaras and minor plastic surgeries — Botox or Restylane — will also be part of the magazine’s coverage. Nevertheless, Chesnutt added, "Our reader is shopping at the mass market level" instead of buying $125 bottles of La Mer. And though readers love makeovers — "I was a makeover queen when I was a beauty editor," said Chesnutt — Woman’s Day will do them sporadically. New beauty advertisers to Woman’s Day in the last six months include Avon and Oil of Olay.
— Stephanie D. Smith