Fashion magazines haven't yet closed their September issues in the hotly contested ad page race, but Hearst is hoping to grab the spotlight ahead of its rivals, revealing that Elle, Harper's Bazaar and Marie Claire will all break their own previous records this year.
“The fashion and luxury world has come roaring back in spending in advertising, particularly in print,” said Hearst Magazines president, marketing and publishing director Michael Clinton. Economic instability in Europe and slowed growth in Asia, he added, have led more high-end brands to focus their marketing budgets on North America.
Condé Nast's Vogue and Time Inc.’s InStyle, historically the leaders in absolute ad page numbers (both had record-breaking Septembers in 2012), are expected to release their numbers later this week.
However, magazines seem to have to be working harder for such gains these days. Scott Kruse, managing partner and director of print at media giant GroupM, said magazines have been allowing for more last-minute additions. While production schedules have stayed essentially the same over the past few years, he said, “I think that publishers are trying to be flexible where they can and allow more time to book space."
Hearst said that Elle’s ad pages would be up 12 percent year over year to 442 pages—making it the biggest single issue ever published by Hearst—on strong beauty and retail business as well as tech. Marie Claire is expected to be up 13.5 percent with 246 ad pages, boosted by a 36-page addition of its fifth Marie Claire @Work insert. New advertisers included Stuart Weitzman, Crest and TD Ameritrade. Hearst didn't give an estimate for Bazaar, only to say it would be up in ad pages over last year. (Update: Bazaar closed with 397 pages, an increase of 10 percent.)
Elsewhere at Hearst, Cosmopolitan's September issue, editor in chief Joanna Coles' first, is up 16 percent with 171 ad pages. On the men’s side, Esquire’s advertising increased more than 25 percent. Riding the luxury wave, Town & Country saw gains across all categories for a 12 percent increase, adding new advertisers like Valentino, Asprey and David Yurman.