Wenner Looks Beyond GSD&M

Top Departures Are Possible Fuel for N.Y. Publisher’s Shop Talks
DALLAS–GSD&M is in danger of losing its Wenner Media account less than a year after winning the business, sources said last week.
The New York publisher of Rolling Stone, US Weekly and Men’s Journal has been approaching other agencies to handle projects. Wenner is specifically looking for an agency to produce a TV spot for US Weekly. Several shops nationwide have been contacted, including Mullen, Wenham, Mass., a finalist in the review that ended in GSD&M’s selection last July. But Mullen, sources said, has declined to work with the client.
Kent Brownridge, general manager of Wenner Media, said the publisher often works with outside agencies on small projects.
“We have 15 or 20 outside creative people that come in to work on a new sweepstakes promotion, a new insert card or whatever,” he said. “We do that all the time.”
Brownridge denied that the account, worth $5-10 million, was or would be going into review.
“There’s a lot going on at Wenner, a lot of exciting things happening. From our perspective, it seems like they’re looking to shop a TV spot,” said Roy Spence, president of GSD&M, Austin, Texas. “That’s what I know.” He declined to elaborate further.
A source said that management changes at Wenner may have placed pressure on the agency-client relationship. Rolling Stone publisher Terry Hummel left the magazine earlier this month. Men’s Journal publisher Kevin O’Malley and associate publisher John Boland have also resigned. Group publisher John Berg left in January.
In a May 8 Mediaweek interview, Brownridge characterized the timing of all three recent departures as unfortunate but coincidental.
GSD&M helped relaunch US in March as a weekly, using creative concepts and strategies developed last summer as part of its winning pitch. “A lot can happen in a week” is the tagline of the $2 million print and radio campaign.
–with Kathleen Sampey