TALK TALK: Clothes hounds have often wondered what a conversation between Victoria Beckham and Marc Jacobs could be like. They’ll get their answer in the spring issue of Bergdorf Goodman Magazine, which features a conversation between the two friends who collaborated on Jacobs’ ad campaign last spring. Beckham and Jacobs muse about everything from his nude photo in January’s Harper’s Bazaar — “They’ve done this horrible thing, Victoria,” Jacobs said. “They’ve airbrushed me, so I look like a Ken doll.” — to his designer advice for her — “Marc said, ‘So long as it is the absolute best quality, so long as you love it, then that is all you can do.’”
Fame and being fodder for gossip columnists are things both are all too familiar with, and the notions bring out poignant moments in the conversation, which was conducted by Michael Gross. “The problem is, when you are well-known in the tabloids, and you’re trying to break into a new industry, it makes it very difficult, because people get preconceptions, and so everybody thinks that I am a miserable bitch who goes shopping every day,” Beckham said.
Jacobs said that, in the end, the most important person isn’t so much the critic, but the customer. “The people who live for reviews and gossip and are on those blogs all the time, that’s probably not your customer,” Jacobs said. “The customer is the woman who wants a great dress. She’s not concerned with what a critic thinks, or what a gossip column says about my boyfriend.” — Marc Karimzadeh
LOTS OF FRIENDS, BUT NOT ADVERTISERS: Social networks and blogs have become the fourth most popular online category, ahead of personal e-mail, according to a new report from The Nielsen Co. These sites are being visited by more than two-thirds of the global online population and the space is growing twice as fast as any of the other four of the five largest sectors (search, portals, personal computer software and e-mail). According to Nielsen, Facebook is the world’s most popular social network and is visited monthly by three in 10 people online across the nine markets in which Nielsen tracks social networking use. Mobile is also playing an increasingly important role in social networking. Nielsen said there were 10.6 million mobile Web users in 2008, up 156 percent over the prior year.
So, what about advertisers? Unfortunately, the scale of advertising on social networking sites is nowhere near the growth in popularity. “A well-used analogy is that advertising on a social network is like gate-crashing a party,” the study said. To overcome this, advertisers will need to develop a closer relationship with social networks and be open to a more trial-and-error approach across ad units and ad inventory. “A magic formula to overcome this predicament and effectively monetize online’s most heavily used sector hasn’t yet been found,” said Nielsen. Last year, reports estimate Facebook earned around $300 million in ad revenue, while MySpace took in $1 billion. — Amy Wicks
TIMES RAISES FUNDS: The New York Times Co. has entered into a sale-leaseback transaction with W.P. Carey & Co. LLC for $225 million for part of the space the Times Co. owns in its headquarters building on Eighth Avenue, including 21 floors, or 750,000 rentable square feet. The money will be used to pay long-term debt and a portion will be used to fund a redemption payment of its 4.5 percent notes due in 2010. The company also recently borrowed $250 million from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú and is trying to sell its stake in the Boston Red Sox. The lease term is 15 years, with an option for the company to repurchase the condominium interest for $250 million during the 10th year of the lease. The rental payment will be $24 million, or $32 a square foot, for the first year and increase in the coming years. — A.W.
ONE-WOMAN SHOW: Yohji Yamamoto, which had announced plans to shutter its New York press office, has reconsidered and will continue with one employee. Julie Saunders will be the U.S. market press contact for all of Yohji Yamamoto’s lines, including his signature and Y’s lines, Coming Soon and Limi Feu. — Natasha Montrose