GSD&M Goes Weekly With Us

Print Ads, Radio Spots Will Change With Each Issue of Magazine
DALLAS–GSD&M releases a new advertising campaign this week to accompany the much-ballyhooed relaunch of Us Weekly.
The $2 million print and radio push takes its cue from the magazine, with a topical theme that changes on a weekly basis. For the first ad appearing in trade magazines on March 27, a picture of rap singer Puff Daddy appears in upper and lower segments of the page next to the words “Rap” and “Rap sheet.” A tagline at the bottom reads: “A lot can happen in a week.”
Another print ad shows Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. “Robs the cradle” is the phrase above the photograph; below, “Rocks the cradle.”
Like the client’s decision to publish four times per month, GSD&M’s choice of generating new creative on a weekly basis is a demanding one. “The concept is a challenge,” said GSD&M account supervisor Nick Johnson. “It will take a true team effort. We’re going to need the lines of communications [with Us Weekly] open every day of the week to get these things out the door.”
“The trick is you’ve got to be clever every week,” said Kent Brownridge, general manager of the magazine’s publishing company, Wenner Media, New York. “We’ve been doing this now for eight weeks, doing phantom issues and sort of getting into the rhythm of publishing weekly. Each time we pick a cover we’ve had GSD&M do the trade campaign and they’ve done a brilliant job.”
A consumer-directed campaign will focus on radio, teasing the magazine with a quick listing of the celebrities appearing in the next edition. Us is casting itself as a more youthful periodical by focusing on young, upcoming stars.
The new advertising push is a small part of the $50 million total devoted to the relaunch of Us Weekly. The magazine appeared in its new format last week with an initial circulation of 1 million.
Austin, Texas-based GSD&M conceived the idea of the campaign last summer as part of its winning pitch for the Wenner Media account. Wenner also publishes Rolling Stone and Men’s Health magazines.
Brownridge called Us Weekly’s new positioning “a tremendous opportunity to publish on a much bigger scale.”
“Entertainment is a really, really, really big category, and everyone’s been afraid to go into it because the other magazine [People] is so big,” he said. “But if you’re brave enough to jump in, it’s a pretty uncrowded field.”