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HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE: Hearst Magazines is continuing its tear into the digital world. Hearst Magazines Digital Media, a unit of the magazine division, has joined the global Nokia Media Network, which will allow Hearst advertisers to place ads on Web pages and other Nokia properties that reach more than 100 million mobile consumers around the world. By joining the network, Hearst said it will become the largest U.S. magazine publisher in mobile content. Mobile brands that will participate include m.cosmopolitan.com, m.cosmogirl.com, m.esquire.com, m.goodhousekeeping.com, m.housebeautiful.com, m.seventeen.com, m.redbookmag.com, m.marieclaire.com and m.bazaar.com. In addition to Hearst, Reuters and Sprint are also involved in the network. — Amy Wicks
CONTROVERSY AS PART OF THE MARKETING PLAN: There’s a new addition to Kim Kardashian’s existing celebutante repertoire, which already includes gossip column staple and reality TV fixture: she’s the face of a new Bongo Jeans ad campaign.
The development could raise some eyebrows given that Kardashian, whose initial rise to notoriety came through the release of a racy video with hip-hop artist Ray J, has already modeled jeans for hip-hop producer Christopher Stokes’ Christopher Brian 2007 streetwear collection and even revealed plans for a jeans line of her own late last year.
So does the reality-TV-star-turned-apparel-promoter find anything contradictory about hawking a jeans brand when she’s working on launching her own? “Not at all, because my line is just at its start; it’s just an idea, and we don’t even have a manufacturer yet,” Kardashian said of the Bongo campaign, which launches this month. “Every designer takes a little from other inspirations, a little from what they like here and there. You envy something like this when you see everything done and all.”
Bongo, for its part, has been trying to use would-be celebrity “It” girls in its advertisements as part of a big push to breathe new life into the brand. Past years have featured former MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo and ex-“Laguna Beach” cast member Kristin Cavallari. “She’s blowing up bigger every day,” said Dari Marder, Iconix Group’s chief marketing officer, of Kardashian’s appeal.
But don’t count out the appeal of cross-promotion. “It’s also a great opportunity for us to be integrated into the show,” Marder added.
Indeed, E network’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” was filming the Bongo campaign shoot, where Kardashian’s mother, younger sister and stepfather made appearances.
First popular in the Eighties, Bongo was one of Iconix Brand Group’s earlier acquisitions. The last attempt to raise the brand’s profile, though, resulted in a lawsuit after Iconix sued a Los Angeles-based producer and distributor that was trying to help bring the brand back. Iconix alleged overcharging and misrepresentations of capability in the suit, and was awarded about $50 million last summer after a lengthy court battle. — Anne Riley-Katz
NOT FOR THE ARTICLES: Sports Illustrated’s annual homage to the female form — in swimsuits — will hit newsstands today and likely have every male adolescent around rushing to buy it (or view the pictures on the Internet). Swimsuit editor Diane Smith said this year’s issue has swimsuits from brands such as La Perla, Badgley Mischka and Perry Ellis. The issue features a $14 million Ponahalo diamond necklace, shot on model Irina in St. Petersburg, Russia. Curvaceous Heidi Klum was shot with a hunk of a different kind, Will Ferrell, in Los Angeles for a “Seventies, tongue-in-cheek kind of shoot,” she added. The issue, which has a rate base of 4.5 million (Sports Illustrated’s rate base is 3.15 million) will be on newsstands until May. — A.W.