Mag Bag: 'TV Guide' Celebrates SpongeBob

Spongebob Squarepants

Kid's stuff is taking over two big magazines -- Disney FamilyFun and TV Guide -- with separate high-profile ad placements for toymaker Hasbro and SpongeBob SquarePants, the Nickelodeon cartoon. Both deals represent firsts for the magazines: Disney Family Fun is giving Hasbro a spot on the cover of its upcoming November issue, while SpongeBob is the subject of a special TV Guide single-interest publication.

The Hasbro cover ad placement coincides with Disney FamilyFun 's "Toy of the Year" issue, which traditionally appears in November, making it an ideal ad platform for toy companies heading into the all-important holiday sales season. The special cover ad includes a pocket with a pullout tab promoting Hasbro's "family game night" campaign.

The cover ad placement could bring a scolding from the American Society of Magazine Editors, which officially disapproves of ad placements that seem intended to blend editorial and advertising content. Over the last year, ASME has chastised Us Weekly, which carried an entire faux cover from a supposed 1940s version of the magazine to promote HBO's "Grey Gardens," Entertainment Weekly for a cover promotion for "The Unusuals," a new show from ABC, and ESPN for integrating a half-page ad for Powerade that obscured the cover of its April 6 issue.



But economic pressure is a more immediate threat than ASME disapproval, which carries no actual penalty. In an interview with The New York Times, Disney FamilyFun Publisher Deborah Mignucci explained: "Print is not the medium that is in vogue right now, and so we have extra pressure to over-deliver to our advertisers."

Separately, TV Guide is planning a special-interest issue devoted to SpongeBob SquarePants -- actually the first in a series of six special-interest issues planned for the next year, according to Mediaweek. The SpongeBob issue, commemorating the 10th anniversary of Nickelodeon's bizarre undersea fantasia (and promoting the upcoming Nov. 7 episode) includes codes for free downloads on iTunes. The 96-page special issue, with a planned distribution of 600,000, has no outside advertising. With a newsstand price of $6.99, it went on sale Oct. 29.

Cosmopolitan and Estee Lauder Launch Karma Project

Hearst's flagship women's beauty and lifestyle publication is teaming up with one of its biggest advertisers to launch a new charitable initiative inviting readers to support a cure for breast cancer. "Cosmo's Karma Project," a collaboration with Estee Lauder, is a multiplatform social-media campaign that encourages readers to perform small acts of kindness related to the fight against breast cancer -- for example, accompanying a friend to her mammogram or making a donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Readers can post the details of their participation using a Cosmo Karma Facebook application, that will aggregate the actions to show the total contribution of Cosmo readers. Updates and suggestions for "karma-building" activities will be disseminated via the Cosmo Karma feed on Twitter; readers can participate in the Twitter discussion by tagging their tweets #CosmoKarma. The campaign also has a sweepstakes component, offering participants the chance to win free Estee Lauder products or a spa weekend.

Zinio and Ad Council Partner for PSAs

Zinio, which creates and distributes digital versions of magazines, is partnering with the Advertising Council and Hearst Magazines for a public-service ad campaign leveraging Zinio's interactive capabilities. Appearing in digital editions of Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, and 10 other Hearst titles, the PSAs targeting young adults will incorporate audio and video content reinforcing messages about social responsibility. Rich Maggiotto, president and CEO of Zinio, stated: "By partnering with the Ad Council, Zinio helps play a critical role in communicating with America's youth in a language and medium that resonates best with them."

Fader Partners with East Village Radio

Fader Media is partnering with, according to Fader executive vice president and group publisher Andy Cohen. Expanding on a relationship that began in 2006, the new partnership gives the Fader Media Network exclusive responsibility for advertising sales for EastVillageRadio. The companies already collaborate in content production for a weekly show called "The Let Out."

PGA Appoints Baylis Director of Partner Events, Special Services

The Publishing Group of America, which publishes newspaper-distributed magazines including American Profile, Relish and Spry, has appointed Sandra Baylis to the position of director of events and special services. In this role, Baylis will oversee experiential events like the Relish Cooking Show and Expo. Baylis has served as regional director at PGA since 1999, with responsibility for publisher relations and circulation in the South and Midwest.

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