Magazine Groups Hire New Agencies To Sway, Well, Agencies

Lately, it seems magazines have been struggling to get a greater share of mind on Madison Avenue, but on Wednesday the print medium captured the attention of at least two ad shops: Mullen and DiMassimo, Inc. They were named new agencies of record for the consumer and business magazine industries, respectively.

Wenham, Mass.-based Mullen was selected by the Magazine Marketing Coalition to take over the consumer magazine industry's three-year, $40 million campaign, which has been without an agency since Fallon NY folded last year. DiMassimo was tapped to handle advertising for trade publishing association American Business Media.

The consumer magazine marketing effort, which just wrapped up its first year, included trade ads, as well as a series of attention-getting faux magazine covers depicting what various popular magazines might look like in the future. After Fallon NY folded, the Magazine Publishers of America took some of the duties in-house, including media buying and ad trafficking. Mullen will serve as a full-service agency on the account--although Ellen Oppenheim, executive vice president-chief marketing officer of the MPA, said the trade association would continue to perform some tasks in-house.



She would not say whether the selection of Mullen might signal a repositioning of the campaign, but implied that it would likely work in a similar direction.

"Mullen showed a very keen understanding of how advertisers think about magazines, which affects translating strategic thrust into execution," she said, noting that the first year of the campaign achieved the MPA's goal of generating buzz on Madison Avenue and getting media buyers and advertisers to discuss the power of magazines to engage readers. "We observed that discussion among advertisers, which allowed us to think more about how magazines should be articulating their message," she said.

An MPA-commissioned tracking study conducted by media researcher Affinity Inc. backs that up. The study, which surveyed 3,000 planners, buyers and advertisers, found that during the first six months of the campaign, there was a 7 percent increase among those who felt the magazine medium's share of ad spending will increase over the next two years, and a 5 percent increase for those who felt "audience" engagement is an attribute that best describes magazines.

The ABM also did not disclose specific plans for its new advertising effort, but President-CEO Gordon Hughes said the strategy included raising the awareness of ABM and positioning business media as an essential component of "any smart marketing plan." This suggests that business publications may be vying more directly with consumer magazines and other media for share of advertising budgets.

The ABM did not disclose which ad shops competed in the pitch, but Chief Marketing Officer Mark Rothman said DiMassimo was selected after a review that last several months. Unlike its consumer counterparts, the business press has been on an upswing in terms of ad page demand, and appears to have turned the corner from the protracted recession that began in 2001.

Interestingly, DiMassimo is not a B-to-B specialist, but handles both consumer and business campaigns. The ABM assigning is its third win in the past month, following Timex Watch's domestic and international ad account, as well as MaxMD, which markets Web domain registration and support services.

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