Mag Bag: ASME Sets New Edit-Ad Guidelines

ASME Sets New Edit-Ad Guidelines

The American Society of Magazine Editors is tweaking the rulebook for keeping edit and ad content separate, according to a story in Adweek earlier this week. The new rules should be ready for approval by ASME's board by the middle of next year.

  The exact substance of the changes--stricter or looser standards--is unclear. On the one hand, ASME's current chief executive Sid Holt conceded: "We've had situations where we've seen violations of the spirit of the guidelines, but not the guidelines themselves"--seeming to suggest that new stringency is in order. On the other hand, "we want them to be more industry-friendly in that they make sense to editors and advertisers alike."

So what "makes sense"? If recent moves by ASME members are anything to judge by, the new guidelines will loosen restrictions on integration of advertising into magazine cover art and headlines. This is one area where advertisers have been especially aggressive with their demands for more mingling of advertising and editorial content.

For example, the September issue of Esquire featured a blinking, flashing electronic display designed by E-ink and sponsored by Ford, although Ford was not mentioned on the cover. The high-profile cover led directly to a Ford ad spread in the front of the magazine that takes credit for the innovative front. The August 10 issue of The New York Times Magazine came with a cover wrap purchased by U.S. Trust, Bank of America's private-wealth management division, to promote its philanthropic financial products.

Last December, New York magazine sold a four-page cover wrap to the New Museum. Last year, Harper's Bazaar delivered 5,000 VIP copies that came embedded with "crystals"--courtesy of Swarovski, also an advertiser. In 2005, The New Yorker produced a single-sponsor issue for Target that incorporated the Target logo's distinctive red-and-white coloring on the cover as well as inside the magazine.

Requests for integration are attractive to magazines, given the drop in ad revenue. Through November, total ad pages are down 8.5% at over 200 weekly and monthly titles tracked by MIN Online.

Best Life Joins Delta to Help Travelers Relax

Best Life is partnering with Delta Air Lines for an experiential marketing initiative with the laudable goal of helping business travelers relax this holiday season. The Best Life Experience, an "oasis" for business travelers in the Delta Crown Room JFK International Airport's Terminal 2, will open its doors from next week until Dec. 7--offering business travelers a massage lounge, flat-screen TVs, fashion displays, a wine bar and product sampling. The experience, incorporating Best Life premium advertisers like Mercedes-Benz, Tommy Bahama, Kendall-Jackson, and Clarins, will reach about 2,750 business travelers a week, based on past traffic data from the Crown Delta Room.

More Layoffs: TV Guide, Forbes, Life & Style

TV Guide, fresh from its sale to OpenGate Capital Partners for $1 last month, was said to be laying off 33 staffers, or about 3% of the magazine's total workforce. Forbes Media cut 43 jobs as part of its move to merge its print and online sales and marketing groups, reversing its previous policy of separate teams for the two content channels. Forbes also laid off several editorial staffers with its closing of ForbesAuto.com and the trimming of ForbesTraveler.com. Bauer Publishing Group said it was cutting five positions from its editorial staff at Life & Style.

Bodnar Named Editor of Kiplinger's

Janet Bodnar has been promoted to editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, taking the spot vacated by Fred W. Frailey, who is retiring. Bodnar previously served as deputy editor of Kiplinger's, which she first joined as a writer in 1979. According to MIN Online, through November, total ad pages are down 16% to 385, compared to the same 11-month period last year.

Gier Named VP, Publisher, Taste of Home

Lora Gier has been named the vice president and publisher of Taste of Home, a new position at the Reader's Digest Association. Previously, Gier served as vice president for integrated partnerships for TOH. Before joining RDA in 2007, she spent 10 years as corporate sales director at Conde Nast Publications.

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