Wenner Makes GSD&M a Winner

N.Y. Publisher Awards Texans Creative Duties on 4 Magazines
DALLAS–Wenner Media, New York-based publisher of Us, Men’s Journal and Rolling Stone, chose GSD&M of Austin, Texas, last week as its agency of record.
GSD&M will have creative responsibilities for all three magazines, plus a fourth scheduled to launch later this year called Net Guide, a planned Internet publication. Account billings are estimated at $5-10 million.
Eliminated from consideration in the final round of the review were Mullen in Wenham, Mass., and Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis.
GSD&M’s win came on the strength of its work in a speculative assignment designed to promote the transition of Us from a monthly to a weekly publication.
“Part of the discovery process was that we discovered the publication should become more relevant to a younger segment,” said Alicia Kriese, senior vice president and new business director at GSD&M. As a result, the client was sufficiently impressed to attempt a new positioning of the magazine relative to the agency’s research.
“We really got into the publication, the category, and began to discover things that the client didn’t know was there,” said Kriese. “Us just has huge potential; the secret to success is learning how to tap that potential.”
GSD&M worked with several focus groups and set up a dedicated “war room” for the Wenner account at its headquarters, a typical agency strategy.
“We had collages of findings from focus groups and people on one wall; another wall was a kind of translation of media and consumer insights into strategy and possible themelines; and another wall had all of our media thinking,” Kriese told Adweek. “The other wall was a competitive landscape, covered floor to ceiling with pages ripped out from other magazines. In the last few days, you would find people in there literally around the clock.”
” ‘Energy’ was one of the words . . . [Wenner Media] used about us,” said GSD&M represent-
ative Eric Webber regarding the account win. “I think they might get more out of us than just the work–they want to get our energy, too.”
Client officials were unable to respond to inquires at press time late last week.
Earlier this year, the publishing company split with its 14-year incumbent, Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis, over creative differences.