They were toasting with 300 or so of their closest media friends at a hip studio in the West Village in New York Thursday night. DJ Reflex was spinning, while attendees viewed installations by international fabric icon Andrew Martin and award-winning jewelry artist Robert Lee Morris.
The staff at Traditional Home, which started back in 1989 as a stand-alone newsstand test publication, were celebrating both the magazine's 15-year anniversary and the publication of its 100th issue this November.
Launched at a time when niche shelter titles like Metropolitan Home and Country Home were spreading, Traditional Home has maintained an enviable period of steady growth throughout its history. And in recent years, it has endured the onset of a new generation of shelter and home titles from Martha to O to Real Simple, and now Cottage Living.
The trend toward more laid-back decorating attitudes has not forced Traditional Home to bend. "Traditional can have a stodgy, historical connotation," said Editor Ann Maine. "The magazine is not that." And it's not for the budget-conscious. "The magazine has always been about real women," added Publisher Brenda Saget. "Real rich women."
During Maine's tenure over the last few years, the title's editorial has undergone slight changes. "There was no redesign, no gut-wrenching changes," she said. "But we have evolved the editorial. We affect readers' homes and their lives."
But perhaps the most important key to the magazine's continued success is solid branding. "The biggest change [for the magazine] has been redefining the word 'traditional'," said Saget, pointing to a recent ad campaign carrying the tagline: "Traditional yes, Predictable no."
Besides, for this affluent target, outside trends appear to be less of an influencer--for as Maine points out, traditional design is consistently cited as being most popular in studies. She says that newer shelter titles like Real Simple don't serve the same mission.
"Their purpose is different--their approach is different," she said. "We tell interesting stories that our readers can relate to. They can't do that."
According to Saget, Traditional Home remains the second most affluent title in its self-defined category, behind Architectural Digest. The magazine has tripled its rate base over the last decade and a half, now at 950,000. "We will continue to grow our rate base in the future," she said. "Circulation is a profit center for the magazine."
Saget acknowledges a tough fight ahead in the crowding category. "What's really interesting is that the budgets for North Carolina [the furniture center of the U.S.] haven't changed."
Despite a competitive market, the magazine has expanded its advertising base (pages are up 6.7 percent for the year). The title has landed advertisers such as Gap Kids and Crate and Barrel--which, while still upscale, are less associated with pure luxury.
Publisher Gets Some Inc.
Publishing Group of America, publisher of American Profile, has landed the number 249 position on the newly released "Inc. 500" list. The list, which was published in Inc. magazine's 23rd annual Inc. 500 Special Issue, lists the fastest-growing private companies in the country. It hits newsstands Oct. 26.
Speaking of Inc., in celebration of its special issue, the magazine--along with sister publication Fast Company--hosted its annual scavenger hunt on Wednesday. Dubbed the ThInc Fast Challenge, teams of agency media types raced around New York City in 25 limos answering clues and seeking hidden items.
Afterwards, the teams gathered at the club Lotus, where Jude Law, Kim Cattrall, and Diane von Furstenberg were spotted.
Deutsch Advertising placed first in the scavenger hunt and was the only team to correctly solve all ten clues. Second place went to OMD, while DCA Advertising took third.
Ziff Plays Games, Names Crafty Editor
Dale Strang has been named to the new position of CEO of the Ziff Davis Media Game Group. Strang has been involved in starting several new franchises for the Game Group, including GMR magazine, in partnership with Electronics Boutiques, Xbox Nation magazine, and 1UP.com.
Ziff Davis has also appointed Scott McCarthy to the position of president of the Ziff Davis Media Game Group. McCarthy comes from outside the publishing world, with 17 years of experience in management positions in broadcast media.
Hot Rod Editor in Chief David Freiburger has been promoted to the role of editor in chief for both Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines.
Luxury SpaFinder Charity Work
Luxury SpaFinder magazine will donate all subscription profits earned on Monday, Oct. 25 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The magazine's parent company, Spa Finder, Inc., will continue to donate a portion of its magazine subscription revenues, as well as a percentage of the proceeds generated by its spa gift certificate program--the largest such program in the world--through Dec. 30.