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Memo Pad: Snatch And Go… No Reign In Spain

Mary Berner has poached her first lieutenant from her old stomping grounds at Conde Nast to join her at Reader's Digest - Suzanne Grimes, senior vice president of Conde Nast Media Group.

SNATCH AND GO: Mary Berner has poached her first lieutenant from her old stomping grounds at Condé Nast to join her at Reader’s Digest — Suzanne Grimes, senior vice president of Condé Nast Media Group. And sources said another departure might come as soon as today: longtime Berner chum Eva Dillon, publisher of Cookie.

Grimes’ departure, which was announced to the staff Tuesday by Media Group president Richard Beckman, immediately set off chatter in the hallways of 4 Times Square as to who might succeed her. Sources said a publisher is likely to be bumped up to the slot, thus creating two big vacancies within the executive suite.

Beckman was responsible for bringing Grimes back to Condé Nast more than two years ago and creating a position for her within the Media Group after she was fired as publisher of Glamour in 2004. In late January, Condé Nast chief executive officer Chuck Townsend gave Grimes a special recognition award at the annual publishers’ meeting in Naples, Fla.

Grimes and Berner have been friends since their days at TV Guide, where Grimes was advertising director and Berner was publisher. Grimes succeeded Berner as publisher of TV Guide when Berner became publisher of Glamour. Later, Berner became ceo of Condé Nast’s Fairchild division before leaving last year, while Grimes was publisher of several Condé Nast titles, including Allure, Women’s Sports and Fitness and Glamour, where she was fired after three years with a generous severance package. Four months later, she was rehired into her new position.

Grimes is the first to join Berner since she took over as ceo of Reader’s Digest at the beginning of this month. Condé Nast executives have speculated as to which other staffers could be on Berner’s wish list, with those mentioned including Glamour’s vice president and publisher Bill Wackermann, of whom Berner is said to be a fan. Wackermann was publisher at Details and Dillon served in the same role at Jane and Cookie during Berner’s tenure at Fairchild. Berner did not return calls for comment Tuesday. — Stephanie D. Smith

This story first appeared in the March 14, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

NO REIGN IN SPAIN: Dolce & Gabbana has pulled all its men’s and women’s ads due to run in Spanish publications in coming months after the images generated a storm of controversy in Europe, including most recently in the U.K. The decision follows one made by Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce earlier this month when they pulled an image from the men’s campaign that depicted a man pinning a woman down by the wrists as four male models watch. In the U.K., the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that two of the images glamorized knife violence.

“With its censorship climate, Spain triggered reactions in other countries, too, and wants to find a negative message everywhere. Regardless of the fact that it’s against our interest, we reacted by stopping the ads to protect our freedom of creativity,” said Gabbana. “We’re so over this issue. We were looking to re-create a game of seduction, it was never our intention to cause controversy, offend or promote violence against women.”

To make up for the lost visibility, the designers will organize trunk shows and other similar events to promote the collection there.

The designers, though, aren’t the only ones in the eye of the Spanish advertising cyclone. Over the weekend, the attention went to an image from the Armani Junior campaign that ran as a one-timer in El Pais. It depicts two little girls posing in a doorway and was shot in black and white. Arturo Canalda, defender of minors in Madrid’s regional government, defined it as an image that “encourages sexual tourism.”

The Armani Group replied with a statement that it would have never imagined that one could have interpreted any malice in the photo. “We are extremely surprised and greatly concerned that a different interpretation might have been received, given that we are well known for the care and attention we pay to the realization of our advertising campaigns, particularly when they involve children,” the statement said.
— Alessandra Ilari, Barbara Barker and Nina Jones