IN CASE YOU HADN’T HEARD: Publishers Information Bureau on Tuesday confirmed what everyone already knows: advertising revenue continues to slide. Total ad revenue for the first nine months of 2008 was $18.4 billion, down five percent from the same period a year ago. The drop was even steeper in the third quarter, when ad revenue fell 8.8 percent to about $6 billion. As expected, automotive advertising was down dramatically — 19.9 percent for the nine months and 23.9 percent for the quarter. Other categories that saw sharp declines during the quarter included food and food products, which were down 18.4 percent, and drugs and remedies, which fell 16.6 percent.
Elsewhere for the quarter, retail dropped 6.8 percent; toiletries and cosmetics were down 0.5 percent; apparel and accessories fell 7 percent; media and advertising dropped 4.1 percent; direct response companies decreased 7.8 percent; financial, insurance and real estate was down 1.6 percent; home furnishings and supplies slipped 8.4 percent and technology slid 2.2 percent.
And while the outlook for holiday is one of the bleakest in years, retail was one of the few bright spots in the first nine months, with ad revenue up 4.5 percent. Public transportation, hotel and resorts also rose, by 3.1 percent; food and food products increased 3.4 percent, and financial, insurance and real estate rose 0.6 percent. And clearly all of that increase came before the Wall Street meltdown. — Amy Wicks
PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORIES: Town & Country editor in chief Pamela Fiori admitted it took 26 years to curate a collection of work by influential photographer Ronny Jaques, who died this summer. The time represents the lengthy friendship between the two, which began while Fiori was on her honeymoon in 1982. Friends of both who gathered at the Hearst Tower Monday night for the release of “Stolen Moments: The Photographs of Ronny Jaques” included Bryant and Hillary Gumbel, Simon Doonan, Dennis Basso, Anthony Mazzola, Sirio Maccioni, Vera Wang and Helen Gurley Brown. A contemporary of Richard Avedon and Lillian Bassman, Jaques’ celebrity, fashion and man-on-the-street portraits were found in Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Holiday and Gourmet. For Fiori, the images of Marlon Brando, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Bette Davis, Ernest Hemingway and others inspired the title “because when I looked at the photographs, they looked like they were photographs taken by accident.” Images from the book will be on display in a gallery space on the Hearst Tower’s atrium level for six months. — Stephanie D. Smith
SERVING UP ONE HOT LUNCH: Things were somewhat wilder the next afternoon at the Hearst Tower. “It’s like a singles bar!” Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black exclaimed when she saw 51 black T-shirt clad men gathered in the company’s cafeteria with Cosmopolitan editor in chief Kate White. The men were chosen as the magazine’s Hottest Bachelors this year, and had lunch with White and any other Hearst editor eager to meet the group before it bused to a meeting with Wilhelmina Studios and, later that evening, a “bachelor” party at Mansion. The 2008 roster includes 51 men because White couldn’t decide a winner for Michigan: both Greg Brown and Christopher Stewart received the honors. The men worked their charms on Black and other Hearst editors during their meet and greet. Mr. Montana (née Jess Peterson) said he encountered Marie Claire editor in chief Joanna Coles in the elevator. “She said, ‘Are you one of those there bachelors?” he recounted, accurately imitating the editor’s British accent. “Well, we need to get us some of those.” Later, Peterson, a cattle rancher, spoke with Black about supporting domestically raised beef. Black informed him of Hearst Corp.’s cattle ranch in Southern California, which provides the beef served in the company cafeteria. Mr. Hawaii and Mr. North Carolina (aka Jon Fritzler and Corey Caldwell, respectively) posed with Black for photos after she moved through the crowd with her tight-lipped lunch date, Vanity Fair contributor Michael Wolff. Perhaps he hadn’t expected such competition for Black’s attention? — S.D.S.
PREACHING BEAUTY: Last year, Seventeen magazine launched the “Body Peace Project” in order to get readers to help teens stop obsessing over their weight. Now designers are joining the cause. In the title’s November issue, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Max Azria, Kimora Lee Simmons, Betsey Johnson and Rebecca Taylor have created styles that would look good on women of all shapes. In addition, 15 other designers have pledged to help teens feel good about their bodies, including Tory Burch, Monique Lhuillier, Charlotte Ronson and Nicole Miller. As von Furstenberg writes in the magazine, “Be yourself and enjoy it! Live healthy and love your body! Your confidence is your real beauty.” — A.W.