Fallon: Fortune Is Brain Food

Fallon McElligott’s new campaign for Fortune magazine uses pithy headlines to speak simply and directly to consumers–a departure from last year’s trade-focused ads.
Gone are the sepia photos and “Us vs. Them” theme of the “Younger and Wiser” campaign. In their place, on grainy paper, are headlines that appeal to the competitive spirit.
“Lift with your head,” says one ad; “It’s not about luck,” says another. The words “luck” and “head” are bolder than the others, similar to an eye chart. Each carries the tagline, “Make your brain bigger.”
The ads broke last week in financial publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Six have been produced and at least as many more are planned.
“It’s got a certain mixture of elegance and dignity. And the [copy lines] kind of bounce off that,” said Bill Westbrook, executive creative director at Fallon here.
The minimalist tack differs from that of chief rival Forbes, which uses “fearless” marketers and entrepreneurs such as Nicholas Graham, chief executive of Joe Boxer, per its long running positioning as a “Capitalist tool.”
Though billings were not disclosed, Fortune spends $3-5 million on ads each year.
The change in strategy comes after the biweekly surpassed Forbes in ad revenue–$115 million for the first half of 1998, versus $96.8 million for Forbes, according to Publishers Information Bureau. But Fortune still trailed Forbes in circulation (740,000 to 765,000).