Hearst Magazines has named the first creative director of its branded content studio as the publisher looks to further expand its work with advertisers.
Nicolas Neubeck is taking up the new role at HearstMade, its branded content studio, after spending about four years as creative director of the company’s digital media division, where he focused on editorial content. That mix of editorial experience across all of Hearst’s magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping and others, will likely serve him well in a position that aims to integrate advertising into content for readers.
“A big part of this job for me is to continue working closely with our brands and bringing our brand voice to the content we create for partners,” Neubeck said. “Over the years, we’ve learned what resonates with our readers and that is a driving factor for what we create for HearstMade.”
He added that the editorial and branded content teams “work the best when they ideate together, from a copy and story perspective, but also a visual perspective.” A lot of what HearstMade does is video and social, and that is set to continue this year.
Neubeck, who started Tuesday and will report to chief content officer Kate Lewis and marketing president and publishing director Michael Clinton, is diving right into the studio’s work, too. There are a lot of projects in the works, but he is hoping to drive “more ambitious projects” for partners.
Neubeck will be working directly with Brett Hill, who was named editorial director of HearstMade toward the end of last year. She also reports to Lewis and Clinton and was an internal hire, coming from a stint as executive editor of HGTV Magazine, a popular Hearst title.
Lewis, who is also working more directly with advertisers in her still-new executive position after spending years on the digital edit side, cited Neubeck’s “huge impact on the presentation and packaging across all digital platforms” in his previous role as making him the right person to further develop the direction of Hearst’s branded content.
“He’s the kind of person who elevates everything from a photo shoot to a pull quote,” Lewis said. “Nick is particularly strong at the new and will bring fresh, big ideas to the brands we serve.”
And HearstMade is a growing and sizable part of the publisher’s business. Last year, revenue from branded content grew 40 percent and 2018 included the creation of more than 300 custom campaigns, up from more than 200 in 2017. Some recent projects include a series of videos for the Ritz-Carlton, which included a tie-in with Bazaar; another video-plus-story for Tumi that featured model Mia Kang, and a similar feature for Converse with Seventeen. While the work is marked briefly online as “in partnership with,” there’s little to delineate between content paid for by an advertiser and content that is not. Other current work includes projects with Olay and Burt’s Bees.
Elsewhere at Hearst Magazines, there are a few new hires as some of the brands continue to shift under new editors and publishers. Katie Jayne Becker is now beauty and health director at Elle, where she will oversee print editors and digital content, coming over from fashion and beauty blog Coveteur. April Long is moving over from Elle to be the new beauty director at Town & Country, where she will oversee all beauty, wellness and related coverage. Jamie Rosen, who has been in the role for nearly eight years, will be moving to freelance status as a contributing editor but will continue to pen a monthly column.
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