Mag Bag: Heartthrob Handbooks
The world economy is in the crapper, there’s a bloody revolution in Syria, security measures for the London Olympics are apparently being improvised at the last minute, and Mitt Romney saves his best speeches for audiences who don’t like him.
Sure, there’s plenty of serious news out there. Then there’s the stuff that really matters, such as which compendium of teenage heartthrobs is the best? It’s summer -- the time when teenage girls’ fancy turns to boys and products. From Justin Bieber to Taylor Lautner, the teen dreams always seem to be besieged wherever they go.
Their collective obsession has given rise to the phenomenon of
the special issue, produced by celebrity weeklies, devoted to collecting and cataloging these hormonal fancies. The heartthrob handbooks focus on photos accompanied by text, purporting to reveal
secrets, silly trivia and sigh-worthy anecdotes about the objects of adoration.
This month, we have two competing handbooks: “100 Cutest Guys,” from the editors of Us Weekly, and “Superstars! Hearthrobs,” from Time Home Entertainment -- the book division of Time Inc., which publishes People and Entertainment Weekly. Both special issues are perfect-bound and printed on glossy, heavy stock, so you can obsess over them for years.
“100 Cutest Guys,” the Us Weekly offering, helpfully organizes the dreamboats into four sections, based on their claim to fame: movies, music, television, and sports. In addition to a full-page photo, each entry contains essential information including their birthday, their place of birth, and a brief quote detailing their romantic habits, favorite activities, etc.
The photos in “100 Cutest Guys” tend to be fairly chaste, with lots of smiling headshots and only a limited amount of beefcake. The inclusion of birthdays is an interesting decision, as that information is a potential liability in some cases -- like when someone turns out to be incredibly old: Some of these guys were born in the 1970s! The quotes are, of course, largely meaningless: Brandon T. Jackson says, “I usually talk to girls on the street. I’m like, ‘What’s up, baby? Holla at me, hit me up on Facebook!” But the special issue’s best feature is probably the inclusion of eight pull-out posters suitable for hours of contemplation on a bedroom wall.
Meredith Relaunches Parents.com
Meredith Parents Network has relaunched Parents.com with a more “responsive” design, optimizing the Web site for consumption across multiple screens. New additions to Parents.com include personalized daily content, with individualized age-and stage-appropriate content, based on the age of a user’s children, expanded video offerings including 500 new original videos, set to rise to 2,000 more within a year; more original content informed by Momtrak, Meredith’s market research outfit, including 15 parenthood blogs, and social media modules throughout the site, including connections to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.
BuzzMedia Acquires Spin
BuzzMedia has acquired Spin Media, which owns Spin magazine as well as Spin.com. The deal also covers Spin’s Play app for the iPad and its music events business. Spin joins BuzzMedia’s existing portfolio of music-related properties, including Stereogum, Idolator, Hype Machine, Pure Volume, Brooklyn Vegan, AbsolutePunk, Buzznet, Concrete Loop, Gorilla vs. Bear, Pop Matters, Punk News, RCRD LBL, and XLR8R. BuzzMedia says it plans to expand the Spin editorial team with an eye to extending digital distribution.
Martha Stewart Re-ups with MSLO
Martha Stewart is staying on with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. The iconic homemaker has signed a new
contract extending her employment agreement through June 2017. Stewart is titled the founder and chief creative officer, and continues to serve as non-executive chairman of the board. Lisa Gersh, who
has served as president and COO since 2011, has been named CEO.
Kelleher Leaves Time for Say Media
Kim Kelleher, previously the publisher of Time, is leaving Time Inc. to become the president of Say Media, a blog network that owns sites including XOJane, Gardenista, ReadWriteWeb, Style Bubble and Techdirt. She replaces Troy Young, who is leaving Say Media. The move comes less than a year after Laura Lang replaced Jack Griffin as CEO of Time Inc.; Griffin had appointed Kelleher to the position of publisher at the flagship news magazine.
Conde Nast Shuffles Execs
A number of key execs are leaving Conde Nast as part of a wide-ranging reorganization, according to an internal memo first reported by Ad Age. The departures include Janine Silvera, chief of the Ideactive marketing services division (which is dropping its name), Tom Hartman, senior vice president for corporate sales, and Rob Silverstone, who served as senior vice president for finance. Josh Stinchcomb has been promoted from Conde Nast Media Group vice president for digital sales to vice president for corporate partnerships. Judy Safir is stepping into Silverstone’s old spot.