ON THE BEACH: Talk about aging gracefully. Saks Fifth Avenue reached into the past and tapped Hoyt Richards, Jeff Aquilon, Clayton Hunter and Paul Greene, four top male models from the Eighties and Nineties, for the cover of its upcoming Father’s Day catalogue. The retailer brought the men and their children — plus one Labrador retriever — to a beach in Malibu for a photo shoot shot by Bruce Weber alum Stewart Shining. “We said, ‘Let’s find some of the big names and faces from 20 years ago and bring the old boys out of retirement,’” said Terron Schaefer, senior vice president of marketing for Saks. “Then we thought, Wouldn’t it be cool to have their children involved in the shoot?”
So Hunter and Greene brought their sons, and Aquilon brought his daughter. “Hoyt doesn’t have any children, but he has a dog, Tucker,” Schaefer said.
The result is a cover Saks believes is “age appropriate, featuring real dads, real kids and a real dog,” he said.
The theme of the 30-page catalogue is “Pop Idol,” and it features merchandise the store has tagged “Royal Bounty,” including flip-flops, plaid shorts, classic Ts and other summertime staples. The Father’s Day catalogue hits homes the first week in June. — Jean E. Palmieri
BY THE NUMBERS: Total U.S. ad spending fell 4.1 percent last year, to $141.7 billion — and declined 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter alone, according to a new report from TNS Media Intelligence. Internet advertising was one of the few media sectors to report an uptick in spending, rising 4.6 percent, while magazines were down 7.5 percent and newspapers fell 11.8 percent. Once again, Procter & Gamble was the largest advertiser, although its spending was down 7 percent, to $3.2 billion. Others in the top 10 last year were Verizon Communications, up 4.3 percent to $2.4 billion; General Motors Corp., up 11.3 percent to $2.2 billion; AT&T, down 10.4 percent to $1.9 billion; News Corp., up 4.2 percent to $1.4 billion; Johnson & Johnson, flat at $1.3 billion; Time Warner, down almost 21 percent to $1.3 billion; Walt Disney Co., down 6.1 percent to $1.24 billion; General Electric, up 17.3 percent to $1.2 billion, and Toyota Motor Corp., down 3.8 percent to $1 billion. — Amy Wicks
MOVING ON: When Condé Nast Portfolio closed last week, Condé Nast said it would try to find a place for the title’s publisher, William Li, elsewhere in the company. By Monday, it had. Li was named associate publisher at Condé Nast Traveler, where he’ll report to vice president-publisher Chris Mitchell. Li has worked his way around Condé Nast, having been publisher of Men’s Vogue prior to Portfolio, and associate publisher and advertising director of The New Yorker. He also worked at House & Garden during its relaunch in 1996. — Stephanie D. Smith
A LARGER DWELLING: Though traditional publishers are still figuring out whether they want to include content from other providers on their Web sites, Dwell is taking a new and aggressive tack with its digital strategy that combines blog ad networks and content partnerships. The San Francisco-based magazine has launched the Dwell Partner Network with about 30 design and architecture Web sites, which it says will make it the largest design media network on the Web in terms of reach — 5 million monthly unique visitors. Other blog ad networks that focus on home and design include Glam Living and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s Martha’s Circle.
Dwell’s Web site was relaunched in September with new visual content, social networking capabilities and a Twitter feed. The partner network doesn’t just mean selling ads on like-minded design sites, some of which have never had advertising of any kind; Dwell will also selectively aggregate their content. “These are sites that Dwell really likes in terms of their ethos,” said Nancy Alonzo, brand director for Dwell Digital. “We’re not opening up this network to any site that covers design no matter what.” Still, the posts will be looked over by editors first, she said. “The editorial staff for the magazine is the same as dwell.com, but their jobs have doubled in responsibility,” she added.
Advertisers are endemic so far, she said, but “we have multiple proposals out there to nonendemic advertisers that touch on design and culture in some way.” As for the limping state of the economy in general and shelter-related businesses in particular, Alonzo said, “Everyone’s pulled back — that’s a fact….But it’s an advantage we have to say, If you’re thinking of pulling back on print, this is what we have in the digital realm.” — Irin Carmon