Over the past few years, beauty has remained a consistent high spot in the often-rocky landscape of women’s magazine advertising. This month, Hearst is taking full advantage of the category’s strength with its new “Beauty Unbound” initiative, the company’s first major cross-title content and advertising push.
"If you look at our number one editorial category across the company, it’s beauty,” said Hearst Magazines president, marketing and publishing director Michael Clinton, noting that titles as diverse as Woman’s Day, Seventeen and Elle all include beauty coverage in every issue. “Our philosophy is whatever you’re the most competent at, blow it out and build on it."
Hearst is now unveiling the results of Beauty Unbound in the May issues of all 10 of its women’s fashion and lifestyle titles. On the editorial side, each magazine will see a 50 percent increase in beauty content in both print and digital. Meanwhile, on the ad side, there was a 10 percent increase in beauty advertising across all titles. In total, more than 20 special beauty-themed advertising and edit packages will appear in this month’s issues.
Among the titles participating in Beauty Unbound are Good Housekeeping, which is introducing its first annual beauty awards; Harper’s Bazaar, whose quarterly spread from global fashion director Carine Roitfeld will also include a beauty focus for the first time, and is being sponsored by Dior; and Redbook, whose new 30-page “Beauty School” section includes three gatefold units, sponsored by L’Oreal, P&G and Kao hair care. Even Town & Country, which saw a 60 percent increase in the beauty category, managed to find its own spin on the theme with a feature on history’s “biggest beauty families.”
Taking a cue from European mags, Hearst is also introducing two different types of sponsored cover units for the first time in the U.S.: Cosmopolitan’s May issue features a L’Oréal-sponsored peel-away cover on top of its regular cover, while Marie Claire will get a four-way fold out “origami” cover sponsored by Maybelline.
Additionally, Hearst is rolling out its first single-topic tablet supplement, a 12-page beauty booklet titled BScene that will be sent to about 800,000 digital edition subscribers along with their May issues. All products featured in the bonus magazine, which is being sponsored exclusively by Elizabeth Arden, will be click-to-shop.
Hearst is already planning to reprise the Beauty Unbound program for next May, and is considering similar cross-title initiatives in other categories. (For instance, Hearst’s men’s titles could see an auto push.) “When you have a big scale company with 21 magazines, we’re able to do a lot of big content plays in a lot of areas,” said Clinton.