Condé Nast took a lot of criticism when it closed two of its three national bridal magazines and turned over more than half the ad sales staff of its remaining Brides.
Three months later, Brides says it’s back on track with advertisers and revealed big plans, including, most curiously, an effort to pull in new advertisers by trying to extend the time women spend with the title after they’re married.
Brides, which doubled its frequency to monthly this year, will add more content on topics like proposals and ring selection starting with the February issue. A new home section and feature called Merge and Purge will be aimed at the posthoneymoon reader and nonendemic advertisers in beauty, finance, fashion and other categories. It will also add a news section to cover products and trends, as well as more coverage of “real brides.”
Editor in chief Millie Martini Bratten said that in focus groups, readers expressed interest in post-honeymoon content. “What we are doing is looking more broadly at the entire experience,” she said.
Regular sex-related content also is new for Brides, something that sibling title Modern Bride, being more irreverent, did until it folded. “We’ll have more sex in the magazine,” Bratten said. “Definitely. People are concerned about keeping it exciting.”
Condé Nast has tried before to expand its bridal ad base, but nonendemic advertisers have historically shunned bridal books because of their high reader turnover. One endemic buyer was skeptical of the plan, noting that wedding magazines are mostly read for the ads. Should Brides succeed, it risks alienating advertisers who only want to reach women who are in the throes of wedding planning, the buyer added. “As soon as that readership changes, that hurts the endemic business.”
Brides vp, publisher Carolyn Kremins pointed out that Brides hasn’t broadened its content in this way before to keep readers longer, though. Kremins, who was transferred from the same position at Cookie when Condé Nast folded it in October, also said advertising was back on track after some clients dropped out, upset by all the bridal changes. Brides is starting to get new and returning clients, including Walmart and Lancome, she said.
Also, Brides.com will cease being an umbrella for three separate mags, a model that had caused some marketplace confusion. A redesign is planned for the first quarter. For now, the site will continue to have its own sales and edit staffs.