Brandtique: In Style, Elle Décor, In Touch

While better than newspapers, the future of magazines is of course hazy. Still, they would seem to have some redoubtable survival aspects, including full-page photography and that ineffable feel that comes from actually flipping the pages. But while they navigate the current turmoil and look for ways to grow ad pages and circulation, a large crop seem to have settled on reality TV as a marketing venue. In the process, many editors and other staff members are getting some serious air time.



It's unlikely that any will eclipse the Q Score of Anna Wintour. But as they make appearances plugging their publications on Bravo, CW, MTV and elsewhere, there's certainly opportunity to--at the very least--prompt non-subscribers to peek inside at the supermarket or newsstand, if not get them to make a quick dash to their respective Web sites.

Forbes magazine gave the reality-show integrations an endorsement last month--as it named Robbie Myers of Elle the second-most influential U.S. fashion editor (tied with Wintour). It touted her 2006 decision to sign a deal linking Elle with Bravo's "Project Runway." Forbes called the move "smart" and wrote that "Runway" "has increased Elle's exposure both online and off."



Alas, Elle is leaving "Runway," where Marie Claire will take over its role next season. Not to worry--Elle looks to keep the buzz meter high with a show that debuts on the CW next week: "Stylista." There, contestants battle for a low-level position at the magazine. Editor in Chief Myers will make appearances, but two other editorial leaders will be front and center: fashion news director Anne Slowey and creative director Joe Zee.

Over the past several weeks, as Elle's "Runway" turn has wound down, the presence of magazine editors on similar reality shows has abounded. Within a three-week span, Seventeen Editor in Chief Ann Shoket was on Lifetime's "How to Look Good Naked" and then CW's "America's Next Top Model."

Within only a few days, editorial stars from In Style, Elle's sister Elle Décor and In Touch appeared in the spotlight--looking to create positive halo effects around their brands (all three appearances were named as top product placements of the week, according to measurement firm iTVX).

Bravo seems to have the process of recruiting magazines for its reality series down pat. Take the Oct. 2 episode of makeover show "Tim Gunn's Guide to Style." There, a woman looking for fashion help gets to visit In Style's "fashion closet," and she meets with the magazine's national correspondent, Katrina Szish.

Szish advances In Style's would-be mantra, which dovetails with what Gunn's show tries to do. "In Style is in the business of trying to encourage women to find their personal style and really to trust their style instincts," Szish says. She then goes on to cite a section of the magazine called "Instant Style" that can help develop a look, while offering an element of entertainment.

On Oct. 1, Elle Décor took the stage on Bravo's "Top Design," an interior design competition show. In the episode, Editor in Chief Margaret Russell was a judge as the contestants were challenged to conceive an ideal spot for a photo shoot. The winning designer earned a spread in the magazine. Elle Décor actually got a notable plug from a contestant, who called it "a really big deal in the design world."

Then there was MTV's new series, "Paris Hilton My New BFF," where contestants face off to be anointed as Hilton's new Best Friend Forever. On the Sept. 30 episode, contestants were challenged with trying to hold their own while appearing on the red carpet in front of a paparazzi horde.

They did so at an exclusive party for In Touch. One by one, they are seen standing in front of the magazine's logo.

As Hilton later grapples with whom to eliminate as a potential best buddy, she gets help from two In Touch editors: Dan Wakeford (who was named editor in chief of sister publication Life & Style earlier this month) and Kevin Dickson.

Who knows who will eventually be Hilton's BFF. But magazines are demonstrating that using editors as evangelists on reality TV is a PMW: potential marketing winner.




Kodak Picture Frame Camera

Trading Spaces





In Style Magazine

Tim Gunn's Guide to Style






Mad Men





Elle Décor Magazine

Top Design





In Touch Magazine

Paris Hilton is My New BFF




Click here to view these placements. Data and analysis provided by iTVX.
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