Richards to Bow ‘TV Guide’ Effort

DALLAS The Richards Group uses self-deprecating humor to promote TV Guide‘s fall relaunch to the ad and entertainment industries in a $5 million campaign that breaks Monday.

Outdoor and print ads use lines such as, “Like everyone else, we’re having a little work done” and “New look, new style, new attitude. Soon we’ll be dating models half our age.” A third line is, “Imagine that. Something new this fall that will actually make it to next season.” All the work includes the line, “The new TV Guide launches September 8.”

The effort precedes a consumer campaign that will break in September to complement the relaunch. This is the first work the Dallas agency has done for the New York client since winning the $20 million account in March.

The magazine has not advertised in a decade. The trade effort is designed to re-introduce a brand that has lagged in recent years. Though it still ranks third among major magazines, TV Guide‘s circulation has dropped 30 percent during the past five years to about 9 million, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The magazine’s ad pages were down 11 percent last year to 2,458, according to Publishers Information Bureau/CMR.

Efforts to turn around the magazine were initiated with the hire of John Loughlin as president of the TV Guide Publishing Group last September. Earlier this year Loughlin hired Scott Crystal as svp and publisher, Chuck Cordray as vp of consumer marketing and Michael Lafavore as editor-in-chief.

“We are strengthening and expanding our relationships with advertisers and the entertainment community,” Loughlin said in a statement. “TV Guide continues to be the authority on all things television. As such, we believe the magazine is a must-buy, and we are committed to taking that message to our customers.”

Print will run in magazines that include Adweek and other VNU publications Mediaweek, Brandweek and The Hollywood Reporter. Outdoor will appear in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The client said new versions of the ads will run throughout the year.