From AdAge: Fashion Magazine’s Advertising Pages Up For March Issues

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Ad Pages Up for Fashion Magazines’ Important March Issues

Vogue’s March Issue Includes 443 Ad Pages

The February issue of Vogue
Mario Testino/Vogue

The February issue of Vogue

Most fashion magazines increased ad pages in their important March
issues again this year, showing some strength in an uncertain economy.

Vogue’s March issue includes 443 ad pages, nearly 4% above the year-ago
level, the magazine said today. That’s on top of a gain of 50 pages, or
13%, last March, according to Susan Plagemann, Vogue’s VP-publisher
since January 2010. "That’s significant for us," Ms. Plagemann said. "We
also beat our five-year average by 4.5%."

The ad-page count of the Conde Nast title will most likely beat any of
its competitors, as Vogue has been selling the issue since last fall.
"It’s like every March for us," Ms. Plagemann said. "It’s intense. We go
at it early."

Vogue sibling W sold 204 ad pages into the issue — 25% more than for
last March — including 20 from Saks Fifth Avenue to start its program
around W’s 40th anniversary later this year. The magazine is continuing
to benefit from a 2010 redesign under Editor-in-Chief Stefano Tonchi,
according to Nina Lawrence, VP-publisher at W. "Stefano Tonchi’s W is a
very big success," she said. "Our growth rate is accelerating."

Because marketers use them to introduce new looks, fashion magazines’
March and September issues have long commanded extra attention from
advertisers and readers. Media observers sometimes weigh September issues to get across just how many pages they carry. March is the next-most important issue.

"Fashion has become a much quicker industry, and most designers create
at least four collections a year," Ms. Lawrence said. "But their major
introductions tied to the runway shows are spring and fall, tied to
March and September issues. If fashion depended on people waiting to buy
the next round because their clothes wore out, it wouldn’t be an
industry. Spring is the introduction of the new season that ignites the
engine for consumers to spend."

Advertisers sometimes respond to a soft economy by moving planned ad
pages into March from surrounding issues, but that’s not the case at W,
according to Ms. Lawrence. "March is up, but February was up and April
will be up, so it’s not like we sucked the pages out of other issues,"
she said. "Our March is not the exception. It’s what we’re doing right
now."

Glamour, another Conde title, said its March issue will have 181 ad pages, over 5% more than last year. Expanding on the Social SnapTag program
Glamour offered marketers in last September’s issue, the magazine got
27 advertisers to include SnapTags with e-commerce capabilities.

Allure will have 143 ad pages in March, up 5% from its 20th anniversary issue a year earlier.

Elle magazine — publishing its first March issue as a Hearst Magazines
title — is running 319 ad pages, 2% more than last March. Elsewhere at
Hearst, Marie Claire said its March issue will carry 181 ad pages, up
31%. Cosmopolitan’s 121 ad pages mark a 20% gain from a year ago, the
magazine said.

Harper’s Bazaar, whose redesign will be introduced in March, said ad pages in the issue are up 15.5% from last year, to 271.

Continued economic weakness has made business tougher for marketers and
magazines stuck between economy and luxury, according to Carol Smith,
VP-publisher and chief revenue officer at Harper’s Bazaar since May.

"We needed to choose a direction, and the only one for a magazine and
brand like Bazaar is to become a more luxurious experience," Ms. Smith
said. "That isn’t to say precious and unattainable but is to say that
Vogue, Elle and InStyle can do battle in the mass arena. We will never
win [there]. I love mass brands, so it’s not that Bazaar isn’t a
wonderful home for Maybelline, but it’s a wonderful home for Mercedes,
too."

Time Inc.’s InStyle said it has sold 347 ad pages into its March issue,
13% more than last March, when it posted a 20% jump. "In this economic
climate, advertisers remain confident in InStyle’s ability to deliver,"
said Publisher Connie Anne Phillips.

People StyleWatch, another Time Inc. title, saw ad pages decline 7%, to 135, ending a 31-issue streak of year-over-year ad-page increases.

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