This past summer, Condé Nast announced that it was handing over control of Epicurious, its all-digital food and recipe brand, to Bon Appétit. While the two brands would remain independent on the consumer side, their sales teams would begin selling together under Bon Appétit vp, publisher Pamela Drucker Mann. Now, with two months of successful partnership under her belt (and more than a little editorial shuffling at Epicurious), Mann is cementing that merger with the launch of the Food Innovation Group.
“Our goal in creating this group is to sell to our clients the way that they want to buy,” explained Drucker Mann. “When you look at the big brands like Kraft or Campbell’s or GM, many of their dollars are going into ad network buys. It’s not about unique branded conten; it’s about reaching a lot of people. On the other side of the spectrum, you have magazine websites. They’re smaller, but have a lot of equity and a ton of engagement. With this introduction of the new Food Innovation Group, we’re stating that, as an advertiser, you can have the best of both. You can have scale and you get that unique content.”
Drucker Mann described the new client-facing group—the first within Condé Nast to sell across multiple brands—as an “end-to-end solutions group” selling across all of Bon Appétit and Epicurious’ digital and print assets, which collectively reach 70 million people (a number that includes both brands' digital, print, social, video and app audience). On the digital side alone, Bon Appétit and Epicurious have a combined audience of 13.5 million, per ComScore's August data. (Both Bon Appétit and Epicurious have also seen serious site growth in the past year: In the 12 months following its relaunch in August 2013, BonAppétit.com’s UVs grew 75 percent, while Epicurious, which is set for its own relaunch this January, saw its UVs grow 40 percent in July and August alone.)
The decision to officially merge the two groups, said Drucker Mann, became obvious as soon as she took the reins at Epicurious: “When I came over to Epicurious, I had an epiphany that while our consumer may want to dive into these brands separately, our clients have a unique need for us to work together. Even before we weren’t working together, we would get those questions all the time—‘Can you partner with Epicurious?’ I feel like this gives us the ability to do it in a really smart way.”