More sees More Readers & Advertisers

More magazine, the women’s fashion and lifestyle magazine launched by Meredith in 1998 to target readers 40 and older, is finding older truly is better.

After four years on the newsstand it appears to be catching on with readers and advertisers alike. More’s rate base grew to 850,000 in February, and its advertising pages were up 40% in the first two months of 2003.

There have been plenty of magazines boosted by a scantly clad woman on the cover, but nearly all of those have been targeting men. More magazine can credit last year’s underwear-clad Jamie Lee Curtis spread across its cover in very real middle-aged beauty as its turning point. “The dynamic has changed,” says More publisher Carol Campbell. “When the magazine started, it was a challenge to find attractive fabulous people that you wanted on the cover that were willing to admit they were 40. Now what’s happening is we have people coming to us.” Since then, the likes of Meryl Streep, Cybill Shepard and Katie Couric have fronted the magazine.



But the real story is how advertisers are opening up to More. Among the recent coverts are DeBeers, Nissan, Mastercard, Visa, Martex, and Taster’s Choice. In the retail category, Nordstrom has booked 19 pages across several issues, while Kohl’s has bought into More for the first time. The just-closed February issue was up 39% in ad pages according to Campbell, who says both March and April are pacing to be up “dramatically” in revenue. With its recent 100,000 boost in circulation, Campbell says More has hit critical mass. “As we grow, it becomes more appealing to advertisers.”

Yet page through a copy of More and the one thing that you’ll notice is how few fashion ads are in the book, compared to most other women’s magazines. “The fashion category is clearly a challenge,” says Campbell, adding that she’s not convinced that is where the magazine should spend a lot of its efforts. “There’s not a lot of money out there and we minor inroads. But for many fashion advertisers, even those whose core buyer might be that 40 plus woman, the feeling is that they must be in ‘as seen in’ titles. Logically they know they have to reach this person, perception wise they still want to be seen as edgy, sexy, and the feeling is that’s not More magazine.” There are exceptions. More has recently broken Eileen Fisher, Chico’s, and Liz Claibourne, and luxury retailer Christian Dior is increasing its business.

Lee Jeans has been one of the strongest fashion buyers for More, specifically for its performance khakis line. “We used them for Lee in 2002 because Lee had an older female demographic target, but it was also important, Lee being a fashion brand, to be within a fashionable environment. More has the highest percentage of fashion editorial by far within the women's service category,” says Fallon MN print buying director Carol Pais. Fallon research found that between January and November 2002, More’s fashion content was higher than 20%, compared to 12.5% at Redbook, the next highest title against which it was compared. “More is that they stay true to their demographic. Other titles, at times, strive to encapsulate a little bit of everything, for everyone, in order to cross over demographic boundaries and not alienate any one age group. More’s editorial, regardless of the subject matter stays relevant to that 40-something woman.”

While she is no doubt happy for the buys she’s received from the likes of Lee Jeans and L.L. Bean, Campbell believes she and her staff have to do a better job at dispelling the notion that all 48 year old women wear kakis and boat shoes. “We need to get our visibility up and make sure people understand that these women do have a lot of money, that they are shopping, and that they’re not wearing frumpy housecoats. They’re wearing high-end designer clothes.”

A one-woman tornado that is helping do that is socialite Nina Griscom, who is plugged into more fashionistas than the sales clerks at Jeffrey. The former Ford model has signed-on as an editor-at-large, and her new townhouse has been the scene of some high-powered cocktail parties in the magazine’s honor. Advertisers including Judith Ripka Jewelry, Citibank, Bvlgari, Salomon Smith Barney, Chanel, and Estee Lauder sipped cocktails and munched on finger sandwiches among a celebrity crowd, all while hearing Griscom’s pitch for More. If Campbell is aiming for high-end ad dollars, Griscom seems to be delivering. “Logically they know they have to reach this person, perception wise they still want to be seen as edgy, sexy, and the feeling is that’s not More magazine, But in a tough economy, the bottom line is selling product” says Campbell.

Meredith clearly expects big things from More, evidenced by its investment. A company not known for burning through cash, Meredith has given the green light to a pricey direct mail circulation marketing plan. A spin-off from sibling Ladies’ Home Journal just four years ago, More has also grown to the point where it has become the potential source for brand extensions itself. “We are in talks with the morning TV shows, and about some other TV projects. It clearly makes a lot of sense,” says Campbell, adding, “The perception a few years ago, when you thought 40, you saw Betty Crocker. Now you see 40 and you think Demi Moore.”

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