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Hearst Cuts Green Cross-Title eBay Buy

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Readers of Hearst Magazines as diverse as Cosmopolitan, Popular Mechanics and House Beautiful go to those titles for very different reasons, but in their April issues, all will find the editors’ take on a common topic: the environment. Between tips from Cosmo on keeping green in the bedroom (natural lubricants, bamboo sheets), to Esquire’s manly green product recommendations (manual lawn mowers, hatchback for guys), all 14 Hearst titles are giving their spin on the green revolution as part of a so-called 30 Days of Green campaign.

It’s the latest manifestation of Hearst’s cross-title advertising programs that have carried home, beauty and fashion themes. But while previous 30 Days programs were advertorial-based and ran in a limited number of titles, 30 Days of Green is the first to include editorial content and run across Hearst’s entire portfolio.

eBay is sponsoring the whole package, which includes a gatefold that wraps each title’s green edit. Hearst’s integrated media department developed the promotional content, which is customized to each title.

In these times when magazines are struggling to sell ad pages, publishers are going further to come up with unusual editorial treatments that have advertiser appeal—sometimes raising concerns that clients are having too much influence over the content. The Hearst initiative bears similiarity to one at Time Inc., where five dissimilar titles including Time, People and Fortune served up ad-sponsored editorial sections on 3-D technology.

Michael Clinton, executive vp, chief marketing officer and publishing director for Hearst Magazines, said each Hearst title got two extra pages and was told to fill it with green-related content. He said the editors didn’t know who the advertiser was and that eBay wasn’t involved in the editorial. Did anyone balk? “Not at all,” Clinton said. “I’ve never met an editor who didn’t like more editorial space.”

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